West Bengal: Left walkout on newspaper issue

Left Front staged a walk-out from West Bengal Assembly, against specifying 8 newspapers for subscription by state-sponsored and aided libraries.

Kolkata: The opposition Left Front on Thursday
staged a walk-out from the West Bengal Assembly, for the third
time during the ongoing budget session, against the state
government circular specifying eight newspapers for
subscription by state-sponsored and aided libraries.

Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay rejected an adjournment
motion on the issue, but allowed CPI(M) member Anisur
Rahaman who moved it to read it out.

After Rahaman read the motion, the Left members were
on their feet, raising slogans and displaying placards
decrying what they described as an attack on the newspapers.

While the Speaker continued with the scheduled
business of the House, the agitated members continued shouting
slogans around his podium and walked out after some time.

Leader of the Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra later
told newsmen that the government circular was a move to gag
the voice of the press and a `conspiracy` to bring about a
division in the press.

The speaker has turned down discussions on all
adjournment moved by the Opposition ever since the new
government had taken over, Mishra said.

He said while the Opposition had wanted a 30 to 45-
minute discussion on the issue, the Speaker had allowed only
an abridged version of the adjournment motion.

Rahaman said although Library Minister Abdul Karim
Chowdhury had held a press conference yesterday, he had `fled`
from the House today by seeking leave on the plea of illness.

"It seems there will be one party, the Trinamool
Congress, only one leader Mamata Banerjee and that the
Opposition will have no right to protest. This is the
beginning of autocracy," he said.

Mishra said he would lead a delegation of Left Front
MLAs for a meeting with Governor MK Narayanan to draw his
attention to the issue and to the government`s recent move to
hand over the financial management of three zilla parishads to
district magistrates.