Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday found herself in yet another controversy after she shared dais with controversial party leaders Anubrata Mandal and Monirul Islam - both facing murder charges and infamous for hate speeches.
Incidentally the Calcutta High Court Thursday will be hearing petitions against Islam and Mandal0.
The court has instituted a special investigation team to probe the charges against Mandal who had asked partymen to "burn down the houses of party dissidents and hurl bombs at police if they prevented".
While the court had lambasted the Banerjee administration for its failure to act against Mandal, the Election Commission has show-caused him for the hate speeches.
Islam, Trinamool member of assembly from Labhpur in Birbhum district during the rural polls in the state last year had publicly threatened to decapitate a Congress leader.
"It would not take me even a minute to behead you," Islam had said at an rally last year and had gone on to claim how he had "squashed" three people under his feet for committing atrocities against women.
Addressing a party rally in Mangalkote in Burdwan district, Banerjee who earlier had endorsed Mandal as an "efficient organiser", attacked a media house for constantly needling the party Birbhum district president.
"There are some people who have no other work but to contently criticise him. It seems they must have asked you something which you could not give," she said at the rally.
"I hate even looking at it, don`t read the paper or watch the channel, I tear away the newspaper if somebody sends it to me," Banerjee said referring to the media.
Banerjee has come in for a sharp attack from her rivals political parties and members of the civil society who have accused the chief minister of shielding the "criminal".
"A day before the court is to hear the case, she, who is the highest government authority here, is giving out a message that she is with criminals. It`s a glaring example of her government is patronising criminals," said Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Rabin Deb.
Similar views were echoed by Congress leaders Arunava Ghosh and Om Prakash Mishra.
Academician Miratun Nahar also expressed her concern saying Banerjee`s sharing the dais with leaders facing murder charges will only embolden criminals.
Hriday Ghosh, whose father Sagar - a Trinamool leader who had turned rebel - was murdered allegedly after Mandal`s provocative speech, also expressed his concern.
"The administration has been trying all its might to shield Mandal and by repeatedly endorsing him, the chief minister is giving a message that he is above law," he said.