Smoke in Didi’s hotel room, fiery attack on Election Commission

MALDA: A┬áminor short-circuit in Mamata Banerjee’s hotel room in Malda on Thursday evening sparked a blistering attack by Trinamool Congress on the Election Commission for “failing to ensure the CM’s security”.

Mamata was unhurt in the incident and ministers Krishnendu Chowdhury and Sabitri Mitra tried to play it down, telling TOI that it was possibly a “minor AC short-circuit”. Both of them assured that Mamata was safe, and party MP Derek O’Brien tweeted about this. But within hours, the smoke appeared to have sparked an invisible fire that turned to singe the EC.

Mamata aide and party general secretary Mukul Roy escalated it into a “deep, devious conspiracy”. He wrote to CEC V S Sampath and state chief electoral officer Sunil Kumar Gupta, pointing out that law and order in the state is “now under the absolute superintendence, direction and control of EC, which has failed in its duty to ensure her (Mamata’s) safety and security”.

“Safety norms and procedures were completely disregarded by the administrative machinery under your control. This incident could have had fatal, disastrous consequences with repercussions in West Bengal and the entire nation. One cannot rule out a deep, devious conspiracy behind the incident,” Roy wrote. A few days ago, Mamata had raised the law and order issue after the EC transferred seven officers, including the Malda SP.

On Thursday, Mamata returned to Golden Park Hotel at Narayanpur, 5km north of Malda town, after addressing three rallies at Habibpur, Harishchandrapur and Malatipur. She has been staying in the first-floor presidential suite since Poila Baisakh (Tuesday) evening.

There are conflicting reports of what happened. Sources told TOI that the CM noticed smoke on entering the room and stepped out immediately, raising the alarm. But in the evening, Trinamool released a letter, saying Mamata was in the washroom when she “heard a loud crackling sound and saw thick black smoke with a pungent smell engulf the room”. She called out to her aide who helped her escape. “On account of exposure to smoke and noxious fumes, she took ill,” Roy wrote in the letter.

Yet minutes after the incident, Derek tweeted that Mamata was safe. “She was in the room when the fire broke… She is safe.” Madan Mitra and MP Mithun Chakraborty, who rushed to the hotel, told PTI Mamata had called her aide for help, who according to Mithun, “wrapped her with a blanket, pulled her out of the room”.

DIG Satyajit Bandyopadhyay and SP Rupesh Kumar, who reached the hotel within minutes, refused to comment on what had led to the smoke. “We don’t know the reason. The fire brigade will ascertain it,” said Bandyopadhyay. Hotel owner Dilip Agarwal is being questioned. Two fire tenders that had been rushed to the hotel stood idle. “There is no fire to douse,” said a fireman.

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Posted by on April 18, 2014. Filed under Bengal,Breaking News,INDIA -WIDE. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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