Stung by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's oblique criticism of West Bengal's opposition leader Mamata Banerjee, her Trinamool Congress Sunday dubbed him as a spokesman of the state's ruling Left Front major Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
"We have a 'hero of West Bengal' who is now acting as a spokesman of the CPI-M. We don't understand why suddenly he feels the urge to do something for the welfare of the people just a few days before the Lok Sabha polls," the state's Leader of Opposition Partha Chattopadhyay told reporters here.
The Trinamool reaction came hours after Mukherjee shared the dais with state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, ignoring Banerjee's call to him not to attend foundation stone laying ceremonies alongside the ruling communist leaders, with the Lok Sabha polls only a few months away.
Chattopadhyay accused Mukherjee of being a hypocrite and termed the foundation stone laying ceremonies as election stunt. "People are being fooled in the name of industrialisation."
"Our 'hero of Bengal' is a hypocrite. And if he is so worried for the poor and the working class, where was he during the Nandigram and Singur massacres or during the murder of Tapasi Mallik at Singur? It was our leader Mamata Banerjee, who risked her life and went there to support the victims," Chattopadhyay said.
Mukherjee Sunday attended the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the East West Metro Corridor Project - a joint venture between the central and state government.
Without naming Banerjee, Mukherjee said if anybody tries to derail the development process, it would "not be desirable".
Banerjee has carried out a sustained campaign against the state government's bid to acquire agricultural land for setting up industries for the last two and half years.
The shrill pitch of her agitations forced Tata Motors to shift its Nano small car project to Gujarat, besides making uncertain the fate of several other projects.