Kolkata: Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman has mocked at his party chief Mamata Banerjee for promising voters in Manipur that the Trinamool will ensure withdrawal of the army's special powers if voted to power. The well-known singer-turned-politician has asked why has the West Bengal chief minister failed to keep her pledge to withdraw forces from Maoist-hit Junglemahal.
The supreme leader of Trinamool and the chief minister of West Bengal in her visit to Manipur for canvassing has said that she supports the struggle of Irom Sharmila. She has even said that just like Irom Sharmila, the West Bengal government had tried to forcefully feed her during her days of hunger strike in December 2006, said Suman.
Suman was referring to December 2006 when Banerjee as opposition leader had observed a 26-day hunger strike to protest forceful land acquisition in Singur.
But the fact is the state government neither forced her to break her strike nor arrested her. On the other hand, Irom Sharmila was arrested by the army in the beginning and then she was forced to eat by using tubes, said Suman.
Banerjee on Wednesday visited Manipur to canvas for her party candidates contesting the assembly polls in the state. She even visited Irom Sharmila - currently in judicial custody and on a 12-year-old fast to demand withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that gives legal immunity to security forces for actions undertaken while fighting militants.
Suman ridiculed Banerjee for opposing the AFSPA in Manipur and asked why were the joint forces still stationed in the Maoist-affected districts of West Bengal.
I want to ask her (Banerjee) how many times in the past has she uttered the name of Irom Sharmila in her speeches or opposed the AFSPA? I want to ask her whether she would have taken the pain to visit Manipur if her party was not contesting the assembly polls in the state, Suman wrote in a blog.
During her visit to Manipur, she has said that deployment of armed forces cannot be a solution. If she really preaches what she says, then I want to ask her the legitimacy of joint forces in Junglemahal, wrote Suman.
When I had opposed the implementation of the anti-Maoist Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Operation Green Hunt, then why did she oppose my views, said Suman.
Suman is having a strained relationship with the Trinamool leadership after he raised his voice against alleged corruption among a section of party leaders and openly condemned the joint forces operation in the Maoist-hit districts of the state.
Of late, the balladeer has attacked the state government on issues like farmers' suicides, deaths caused in police firing, and has penned a song eulogising slain Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanjee.