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Buddha faces wave of anger

Even after thoroughly sanitising a relief camp before chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit to the cyclone-hit Hingalgunj in North 24 Parganas today, the state administration could not save Bhattacharjee from facing the people’s wrath for the second time in two days.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2009 00:55 IST
Drimi Chaudhuri

Even after thoroughly sanitising a relief camp before chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s visit to the cyclone-hit Hingalgunj in North 24 Parganas on Tuesday, the state administration could not save Bhattacharjee from facing the people’s wrath for the second time in two days.

The administration removed all the troublemakers from the spot, as two hours before the CM’s arrival at Hingalgunj, CPI-M legislator Gopal Gayen was heckled and smeared with mud by the people.

On Sunday, the chief minister faced the people’s anger for the first time at a relief camp in South 24 Parganas.

Although he did not receive the same treatment as Gayen did, Bhattacharjee faced a barrage of complaints about poor relief
management and abuses from the people holed up at a local school.

The arrival of his convoy, followed by media teams, made the refugees even angrier. Bhattacharjee tried his best to calm the people by talking to them in an assuring tone.

But a large group of bystanders asked him angrily as to why none of the ministers had come earlier to check on their plight.

Although Bhattacharjee said, “Where the situation is worse, I have to be there because I am the chief minister,” the crowd did not seem to be convinced. As he was leaving the camp after about 20 minutes, abuses flew in from all sides.

The refugees told Bhattacharjee that legislator Gayen was harassed because he did not visit the camp even once till Tuesday morning. “Two days back, we asked him to come and check on our plight. But Gayen, riding pillion on a bike, glanced at the school and left without bothering to get down,” they said.

Gayen denied these charges, claiming that he had visited all the relief camps in the area. He claimed, “No relief work takes place at Hingalgunj without my knowledge.”

But the next sentence he said was “Nobody told me that a camp was set up in that school.”