Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal Chief Minister, had been the quintessential streetfighter during her years as an opposition leader in the state’s politics. In a throwback to those days, she staged an unique protest against the price hike of petroleum products on Thursday as she rode pillion on an electric scooter to reach her office in the state secretariat ‘Nabanno’ building in Kolkata’s adjoining Howrah district.
There was quite a bit of flutter on her route from south Kolkata’s Hazra crossing to Nabanno as Firhad Hakim, the city’s Mayor and State Municipal Affairs Minister, drove the electric scooter all the way. Both were seen wearing helmets while ‘Didi’ had protest banners hung on her body.
“The Central government is increasing LPG and diesel prices every day. It is a serious matter of concern. The Central government will only reduce the prices for a few days when the elections are round at the corner,” Banerjee said in an impromptu speech near her residence. The state’s ruling Trinamool Congress has sharpened their attacks on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre as petrol prices were hiked in recent times. Petrol was sold at Rs 91.20 per litre in Kolkata on Thursday while in Mumbai, the price of petrol crossed Rs 97 mark (both prices Dh five approx).
West Bengal is among the five states which will go for state assembly elections in April-May. In what would be easily the most bitter of electoral battles among them, BJP aim to unseat the Trinamool Congress-led regime which is serving their second term. An electoral alliance between CPI(M), Indian National Congress and Indian Secular Front plans is expected to be the third force in the fray.