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6 Jan 2017

'Didi monitoring', Delhi show rolls

Trinamul MPs Dola Sen and Satabdi Roy shout slogans while being bundled away to Mandir Marg police station in a bus in New Delhi on Thursday. (Imran Ahmed Siddiqui)
TT, New Delhi, Jan. 5: Trinamul lawmakers today tried to barge into South Block, which houses the Prime Minister's Office, continuing their protest against Tuesday's arrest of party MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay in the Rose Valley deposit-mobilisation case.
Police and the elite Special Protection Group (SPG), which guards the Prime Minister, battled for nearly 20 minutes to push the protesters back from the high-security zone.
Led by Saugata Roy, the 31 MPs had assembled at the party office inside the Parliament complex at 2pm and then driven to South Block, barley 1km away.
Stopped at the gates, they chanted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, accusing the Centre of vendetta politics.
Asked how the MPs had been able to reach South Block's gates, SPG and police officers accused the intelligence agencies of failing to alert them in time. South Block also houses the defence and foreign ministries.
After nearly 20 minutes of sloganeering, the MPs were bundled into a bus and driven to Mandir Marg police station where they were detained for about 40 minutes.
Unlike yesterday, when Trinamul lawmakers sang Tagore's songs at Tughlaq Road police station after being detained, they merely shouted slogans against Modi inside Mandir Marg police station today.
When some of them took a break from slogan-shouting and began joking about the security apparatus at South Block, they were cautioned by the rest.
"Didi monitor korchhe (Didi is monitoring us)," a lawmaker warned. It was enough - the slackers sprang to their feet and joined in the chorus of "Modi hatao, desh bachao (Remove Modi, save the country)".
The cops inside the police station looked tense. When the MPs were leaving, some of the policemen manning the gates smiled and shook hands with them.
Chinta mat kijiye, jaldi phir milenge humlog (Don't worry, we'll meet soon enough)," one of the MPs joked.
Trinamul sources said Mamata Banerjee was likely to travel to Delhi next week to step up the heat on the Centre.
"All the MPs will return to Calcutta by Friday morning. They have been asked to be back in Delhi again on Monday. We have planned protests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," a senior Trinamul MP said.
He hinted that Mamata might be in Delhi on one of the three days.
An hour before the Trinamul protest, a BJP team from Bengal had met Union home minister Rajnath Singh and handed him a memorandum alleging a law-and-order breakdown in the state.
Led by the party general secretary in charge of Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP team complained about the attacks on party offices and workers across the state by Trinamul "goons" after Sudip's arrest.
"The violence has the political blessings of chief minister Mamata Banerjee," the memo said.
"Such an unfortunate and serious situation in the state warrants immediate review of law and order and whether the present state government is capable of carrying out its responsibility in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution."

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