Babul Supriyo faces protest during visit to cyclone-hit areas
Union minister Babul Supriyo on Wednesday faced massive protests and was asked to go back by a group of people when he arrived in South 24 Parganas district to take a stock of the situation in cyclone 'Bulbul'-hit areas. Supriyo, who said on Tuesday that he had been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the storm-ravaged areas in Bengal, claimed that the agitators were activists of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Criticizing the Mamata Banerjee-led party for engaging in "dirty politics" over his visit, the Union minister said he would submit a report on the ground situation to Modi. The singer-turned BJP MP also claimed that the TMC engineered the protests as it did not want him to get a "first-hand idea" of the situation at the ground level.
Shortly after he reached Namkhana, one of the worst- affected areas in the state, protesters stopped his convoy and showed him black flags. The Union minister, despite clarifying that he was in the district to talk to the cyclone-hit people and assess the extent of damage, was asked to go back by the protesters.
The agitators were not carrying any party flag, but the minister insisted they were TMC workers. "I knew I would face protests during my visit. The agitators were all TMC activists," Supriyo asserted.
The minister also visited Fraserganj later in the day, where he met locals and enquired about their condition post the cyclone, which made landfall on Saturday between Bengal and Bangladesh coasts. "I visited 'Bulbul'-hit Namkhana & Bakkhali, where the storm left a trail of destruction rendering thousands homeless. Several locals complained about lack of relief materials and food for the last four days. The TMC, however, will continue to engage in dirty politics," he told reporters.
Taking a jibe at Supriyo, senior TMC leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee said Supriyo should have done his homework before visiting the storm-affected places. "What is he doing there now? Where was he when the cyclone barrelled through the coastal areas? He may be interested in politicizing the matter, but the fact is we have already disbursed compensation. And relief work, too, has started on Sunday. He should do his homework well before making allegations," Chatterjee said.
This is for the second time in two months when Supriyo faced protests in Bengal. On September 19, the Union minister was gheraoed by a section of students at Jadavpur University, where he was scheduled to attend a program organized by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had to rush to the varsity to "rescue" the minister.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)