The team, led by leader of the Opposition in Assembly Partha Chatterjee, demanded the arrest of the chief minister for the alleged terror the party had unleashed in the state.
The sit-in dharna which began at 1.30 pm — barely five minutes before Bhattacharjee left for lunch — ended at 4-15 pm, 15 minutes after he came back to the Writers’ Buildings.
Thereafter, on his orders, the four MLAs — Chatterjee, Ashok Deb, Jyotipriya Mullick and Swarnakamal Saha — were forcibly removed by commandos of the Special Task Force of the Kolkata Police. They were taken to the Presidency Jail, and were released later.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who immediately called a media conference, demanded the imposition of President’s Rule in the state and the arrest of the chief minister.
Bhattacharjee denounced the incident, saying he could not “allow the Writers’ Buildings to become a circus of the opposition”.
The drama started at 1-30 pm when MLAs, led by Chatterjee, came to Writers’ Buildings and to the surprise of the police and commandos, pulled up chairs and sat right in front of the office of the CM. As senior officials rushed in, they refused to budge, saying unless the administration gave word that the home minister (home is under the chief minister) was arrested they would not remove the dharna.
Soon after, Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakrabarti and Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen requested them to come to the CS’s room and discuss the issue. But they refused. Sen, who was supposed to take a flight for Delhi at 5 pm, had to postpone it.
Coming in at 4 pm, the chief minister went into a huddle with the senior officials. Soon the protestors were removed and taken to Presidency Jail. At the gate of Writers’ Buildings another TMC MLA Dinesh Bajaj joined them.
“We did not take cognizance of any of their complaints because making a complaint while sitting in a dharna in front of the chief minister’s office was not acceptable,” Sen said.
In the evening, there was a massive traffic disruption as Trinamool Congress staged roadblocks at 20 places, including busy junctions like Moulali, Pak Circus and Beck Bagan. In all, 18 people were arrested, including legislators Madan Mitra, Sonali Guha and Arabul Islam. No untoward incident was reported.