West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday turned Kolkata into a theatre of protest, unleashing thousands of Trinamool supporters on the streets over the arrest of transport minister Madan Mitra in the Saradha scam.
She also announced that Trinamool Congress MPs will protest in Parliament from Monday, indicating that the party was gearing up for a long-drawn agitation over the issue.
The Trinamool has claimed that the arrest of Mitra – as well as other Trinamool leaders in the scam – by the CBI has been orchestrated by the ruling BJP.
On Saturday, Mitra said as much in an Alipur court which remanded him in CBI custody till December 16.
“I was having my tea when suddenly an officer came to me and said we have got a call from Delhi, we will have to arrest you,” the leader told the court.
As soon as he finished speaking, the battery of defence lawyers started shouting, calling the CBI a “caged parrot” and sought bail for the minister.
A drama was played outside, too, when enthusiastic supporters of Mitra tried to stop the vehicle which brought him to court. When the effort failed, they showered petals at him and shouted slogans to demonstrate their solidarity with him.
Elsewhere in the city, the chief minister held centrestage, telling the BJP to “stay within your limits or face (the) music.”
The ruling party took the agitation even beyond the city. In the afternoon, daily commuters also complained of trains being blocked at the Howrah station.
“Trains were not plying when I reached Howrah station around 3.30 pm due to blockade on the Howrah-Bandel line. Finally, I had to take (a) bus to go home at Bally,” said St Xavier’s college student Darshayita Thakur.
Trinamool supporters also forced shopkeepers to down shutters at Bhawanipore, the stronghold of Mitra.