Congress, Trinamool spar over S.S. Ray’s legacy

Monday, November 8, 2010

KOLKATA - The spat between Trinamool Congress and its ally Congress over the recently deceased former West Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray continued Monday, with both parties squabbling over his funeral procession.

West Bengal state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya expressed sorrow that Ray’s funeral procession did not stop at party headquarters Bidhan Bhavan.

“I am filled with sorrow with what happened Sunday. We just wanted to pay our respect to a person who was chief minister from our party, and who was a permanent invitee to the West Bengal state Congress,” said Bhuniya at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“We deserved at least the right to pay our last respect, which was not given to us,” he said.

Senior Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee targeted Bhuniya in a press conference called shortly thereafter.

“Some people are there for remembrance but not for giving respect. When Manuda (Siddhartha Shankar Ray) was alive and ailing, they never went to meet him. Not even a courtesy visit was paid by them. Now they are shouting,” he said.

“He was our supporter and we gave him due respect. They need to stop this and plan how to fight the CPI-M,” he added.

The funeral procession of Ray was controlled by Trinamool Sunday, which elbowed out Congress activists keen to take part in the proceedings. The body was not brought to state Congress headquarters, despite a personal request from Manas Bhuniya.

Trinamool controlled all aspects of the procession, from the hearse, which had Mamata Banerjee’s name written on it, to the movement of the procession, which skipped state secretariat - Writers’ Building - as well.

Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who held the posts of chief minister, governor and ambassador, and was one of the architects of the national emergency of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, died at his south Kolkata residence Saturday following renal failure. He was 90.

Filed under: Politics

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