No state mourning in Bengal for S S Ray
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Last Updated: Monday, November 08, 2010, 19:50
  
Kolkata: Though Punjab government has declared a 2 day state mourning as a mark of respect to its former governor Siddhartha Shankar Ray, West Bengal of which he was a former chief minister, did not.

Asked who was responsible for Ray, who died here on Saturday, not being given a state funeral, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee shot back today "do not question me in this way. Don't you see I don't answer when you question me in this way?"

When it was pointed out that the state government had declared a state holiday but the tricolor was not lowered to half-mast at the state secretariat, Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh replied "this is not state mourning. "There has been a lot of talk, I will not answer."

WBPCC chief Manas Bhunia was also critical of the state government for not organising a state funeral as was done in the case of Jyoti Basu when he died in January.

"I had called up the chief secretary, but he said no such proposal was mooted," Bhunia said.

He sought to downplay the party being sidelined during the funeral of its veteran leader amidst allegations that the Trinamool Congress leadership had hijacked it.

Regretting that the body of Ray could not be taken to the WBPCC office during his last journey, Bhunia said "I will not like to comment on that.

"Why don't you investigate and find out?" he said when asked who was responsible for the body of Ray not being taken to the WBPCC office where he was a permanent invitee.

Bhunia just said "had the body been taken to Bidhan Bhavan, it would have helped his supporters and followers to bid him farewell in a befitting manner."

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the party had been present round the clock at Ray's Beltola residence since his death on Saturday evening.

The funeral procession yesterday, starting from his residence to Keoratala crematorium via the state Assembly, the Calcutta High Court and the CAB headquarter at Eden Gardens, yesterday was also a Trinamool Congress show.

Banerjee herself had walked for some time with the hearse after it left Ray's house and then joined again on its way to the crematorium and remained there during the cremation. The state PCC chief also sought to play down the absence of any central Congress leader to pay respect to the departed leader who had once held enormous clout in Delhi by virtue of being a confidant of Indira Gandhi.

"It is by mere coincidence that the death occurred during US President Barack Obama's visit and the leaders could not attend but union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was in constant touch and monitored everything from Delhi," he said.

Bhunia denied that the party had been cut off from Ray as Banerjee, who went to Ray from time to time for suggestions and discussions, was close to him.

PTI


First Published: Monday, November 08, 2010, 19:50


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