''Felt bad'': Mamata on not being invited to E-W Metro launch

(Eds: With additional inputs) Kolkata, Feb 14 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday took umbrage at not being invited to the inauguration of the East-West Metro corridor, saying that her team had to 'shed tears' to get the project sanctioned when she was the railway minister.

The first phase of the East-West corridor of the mass rapid transport network was flagged off by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday, but the TMC gave the event a miss after Banerjee's name did not feature in the list of invitees.

'We had worked hard for the East-West Metro project.

We had to literally shed tears for it (approval). I felt bad, that a small metro route was inaugurated, but I was not even informed about the inauguration,' Banerjee said in the state assembly.

She was the railway minister from 2009 to 2011 in the UPA-2 government.

The first phase of the metro project connects a 4.88- km stretch between Salt Lake Sector V -- the IT hub of the city -- and Salt Lake Stadium.

Reacting to Banerjee's comment, Union minister Babul Supriyo said a senior railway official had gone to the state secretariat to invite her.

'There is a protocol of railways, whenever the prime minister is the chief guest, the chief minister is also invited. But here it was not the case. A senior official of the railways had gone to invite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She should not politicise the matter,' he said.

CPI(M) legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said that Banerjee is 'just paying for her past sins'.

'We feel that the chief minister should have been invited. But Mamata Banerjee has no right to speak on the issue. During the Left rule in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee as the railway minister did not invite state ministers on several occasions. So they (TMC) should be the last to talk about courtesy,' Chakraborty said.

Slamming the Union government, Banerjee said it is deliberately trying to deprive Bengal.

She accused the Centre of trying to start the process of the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the garb of the National Population Register (NPR).

'We will never allow the NPR in Bengal. It is nothing but a prelude to the NRC. I will also write to other states requesting them not to allow the NPR,' Banerjee said.

Criticising the opposition parties in the state for spreading 'political pollution', the chief minister slammed the CPI(M) and the Congress for 'politically surrendering' before the BJP.

'The more the Congress inches closer to the CPI(M), the more it will lose its prominence. Wherever regional parties are strong, the Congress literally doesn't have any existence,' she said.

Banerjee also lashed out at Chakraborty for his comments that several TMC ministers have lost in terms of vote share in the last Lok Sabha polls, and said the CPI(M) should stop lecturing others as they themselves have 'transferred votes to the BJP'.

Speaking on the death of two persons, who were killed in a clash over a protest programme against the CAA in Murshidabad district's Jalangi, Banerjee blamed the opposition parties for calling a strike on the day of Saraswati Puja.

'Why did you guys call a strike on the day of Saraswati Puja. This strike was called in order to communalise the issue. We don't support it,' she said.

Banerjee praised Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar for delivering a 'good address' and wished him good health.

Referring to the incident of JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh being denied permission for a seminar on the Calcutta University campus, the chief minister said she shouldn't be taught courtesy.

'We had condemned the attack on her inside JNU. Don't teach us courtesy. Have you forgotten the way you people (CPI (M)) used to behave with us? How I was beaten up at Hazra crossing?' she asked. PTI PNT SOM SOM