For the first time in her six year rule, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday walked out halfway through an administrative meeting in Purulia district, angry over lack of progress in developmental work.
"I have walked out half way through the meeting as the work has not been done properly in the district. I have told the Chief Secretary that I won't be conducting the meeting here unless the work is done properly," Banerjee said after storming out of the venue.
She said the state government had given some instructions to the district administration to complete certain projects for the welfare of the poor people.
"But those haven't been followed properly. I am very strict in these matters. I won't conduct the meeting here if the work is not complete."
The Trinamool supremo, however, did not hold the District Magistrate responsible for the alleged lapses as he has just taken over.
"The DM of the district has just joined. He cannot be held responsible for this," she added.
Terming Banerjee's act as a political stunt, Bharatiya Janata Party national Secretary Rahul Sinha claimed she should walk out of all the district meetings as the progress of work is lagging everywhere.
"If the Chief Minister starts walking out of administrative meetings for the lack of work culture, she has to do the same in district after district because there is no work culture anywhere. It is not as if all the districts are performing extremely well and only Purulia is lagging behind. She should walk out of the administrative meetings in all the districts," he said.
Sinha also described the incident as Banerjee's desperate attempt to change the people's focus as they came out in strength to celebrate Ram Navami in protest against the state government's "communal politics".
"This is nothing but an example of her politics of stunts," Sinha told IANS.
Communist Party of India-Marxist legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said Banerjee might have been "upset" with the district officials as she is only habituated in getting affirmative responses from them. He said the Chief Minister has conveyed a message that everyone has to echo her opinions.
"In a meeting she is the only speaker, no body else is allowed to speak. The others are only supposed to greet her and say yes to her commands whether actual work is done or not. She has walked out to communicate that from the next meeting everyone should echo her in the same manner," Chakraborty told IANS.
Since coming to power to 2011, Banerjee has been holding regular administrative meetings in the districts, where she takes stock of development projects and monitors whether welfare schemes have reached the intended beneficiaries. She is known to pull up ministers, district officials, and public representatives for lapses.
However, never in the past has Banerjee walked out of any such meeting midway.