Eighteen years after she vowed never to set foot again in Writers' Building from where she was forcefully evicted while on dharna with a rape victim before Jyoti Basu's chamber, Mamata Banerjee on Friday stepped in as Chief Minister.
Banerjee, then a Union minister of state and a Congress leader, had sat on a three-hour long dharna before Basu’s chamber with a deaf and dumb rape victim from Nadia district, claiming the rapist had not been arrested because of his political affiliation.
"Basu had on that day left Writers' without meeting Mamata," the then deputy commissioner of police (central) Abani Mohan Joardar, now a Trinamool Congress MLA said.
"Her appointment was cancelled and the CM showed no inclination to speak to a Union minister. This infuriated Mamata," he said.
He said Banerjee was physically removed from the state secretariat and the then DC DD Goutam Mohan Chakraborty had taken Banerjee to the police headquarters at Lalbazar, a short distance from the state secretariat and kept her in the lockup even though she was a Union minister.
"I do not know what procedure was followed. She refused to take bail. In such cases a person is produced in court the next day," Joardar said.
"Mamata was initially reluctant to leave the lockup. She did so only when I spoke to her. When I escorted her out of Lalbazar, Youth Congress supporters were teeming outside.
"They started brickbatting the police. Mamata personally intervened and stopped them. She was later driven home by the police. On the way, she spent some time alone at the Gandhi statue on Mayo Road crossing," he said.
She kept her vow for 18 years and entered Writers' Building as the new chief minister after being the architect of the demolition of the Left Front citadel of 34 years in the Assembly elections.