Kolkata: West Bengal`s ruling Trinamool Congress was ridiculed Wednesday by the opposition after its disappointing public rally in Delhi`s Ramlila Maidan.
After days of build up about the event where social activist Anna Hazare was slated to share the dais with Trinamool leader and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the event flopped, with the Gandhian staying away. The crowds were very thin.
An Anna aide said he was unwell but also claimed that the anti-corruption crusader would have attended the rally had it drawn at least 10,000 people.
The aide, Sunita Godara, also criticised the organsers, saying such programmes should be held on holidays and in evening hours.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) , the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost no time in taking digs at the Trinamool and its chief on the issue.
"We are used to such jokes involving Mamata Banerjee. I don`t know what more lies in store. She is a master in making volte faces. Only yesterday she said it is `our meeting`. Today she says it was Anna`s meeting," said state Congress leader Abdul Mannan.
State BJP president Rahul Sinha was more hard hitting. "This is what happens when you get too big for your boots. The chief minister is day dreaming about becoming prime minister.
"She should get over her dreams and try to carry out the responsibilities which the people of the state have entrusted her with."
On Hazare not turning up at the Ramlila Maidan, Sinha said: "I had written to him that after fighting against corruption, whether he was set to be submerged in the sea of corruption".
A Trinamool leader, Saugata Roy, said: "I heard Anna is unwell. He has said he supports Mamata but the doctor asked him not to attend the rally."
Asked about Godara`s comments on the poor attendance, Roy said the meeting was organised by Hazare`s followers. "We did not take people by train from West Bengal. There is no need to create a needless debate.
"Rallying a large crowd is not a problem for us."
CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechuri said Hazare stayed away because he realised that his anti-corruption crusade would have lost credibility in Banerjee`s company.
"What has happened was bound to happen. Every person has the right to live in her world of dream. She also has the right. But now the difference between the dream and the reaility has come into the open."