Kolkata: The July 21 rally by the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata was meant to honour martyrs. But, after perfunctory tributes, the rally turned into a slugfest against the CPM and a potshot at Home Minister P Chidambaram.
Party chief Mamata Banerjee stopped short of blaming the CPM for the twin train tragedies in Bengal in the last two months - Jnaneshwari Express in May and the Sainthia accident on Monday.
"The elections of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation were due on May 30 and on May 28, the Gyaneshwari disaster happened. On the 19th that (Gyaneshwari) also happened at 2 am, this (Sainthia) also at 2 am. Enquiry is on... I won't say anything but comrades what do you think are we fools?" Banerjee said.
The Railway Minister was a little more subtle, though the message was clear.
But Minister of State for Shipping and Trinamool's all India chief, Mukul Roy, left nothing to the imagination. The CPM, he said, was behind the sabotage of the Jnaneshwari Express and Monday's train at Sainthia.
"I am clearly saying some workers and members of the CPM who can do these sabotages... there is nothing that the CPM can't do... they can even conduct scientific killings," Roy said.
While Mamata flexed muscle in Kolkata, the CPM, whose Central Committee's meeting is on in Delhi, lost no time in hitting back.
"This is a wild and an absurd charge. The fact that it has been said by a minister means that we will seek a privilege against such baseless charges. They are doing a great disservice to the country by holding on to their ministerial portfolios and not discharging their duty," CPM leader Sitaram Yechuri said.
Mamata also slammed the Home Minister's Maoist policy, demanding that the Centre immediately withdraw the joint security forces from Lalgarh.
Home Minister P Chidambaram had pointed out that there was a regrettable delay in rescue teams reaching the accident location in Sainthia, about 190 km from Howrah. "I was told that the first relief team could leave only after two and a half hours after the accident and the second relief team could leave only after seven hours of the accident happening," he said, pointing out that rescue teams were stranded on the roads. Helicopters should be used in the future, he suggested. (Read: Train accident: Chidambaram upset with response time)