Kolkata: In a shocking incident, Bengal Power Minister and senior TMC leader Sovandeb Chattopadhyay alleged that he was heckled by his own party MP Mala Roy’s supporters after he switched off some of the street lights during a film screening in the open near Pratapaditya Road crossing in South Kolkata on Tuesday night.
Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said that the open-air film show was organised as a part of Mamata Banerjee’s initiative named ‘paray paray cinema’ (movies in every neighbourhood) to popularise Bengali movies across the city’s localities.
Actor Rituparna Sengupta and Prosenjit Chatterjee’s ‘Praktan’ (‘Former’) movie had been chosen for the Tuesday screening. On Chattopadhyay’s orders, the street lights in the area were switched off on for better visibility.
While the preparation was underway for the show – a large number of Mala Roy’s (TMC MP from South Kolkata) supporters visited the area and demanded that the lights be turned back on. They alleged that the local residents had complained to the Roy about facing inconveniences because of the dark streets.
This led to a heated argument between the supporters of Chattopadhyay and Mala Roy during which the former was allegedly manhandled. Meanwhile, a police team rushed to the area even as Chattopadhyay’s supporters had blocked off all the important intersections, which led to massive traffic congestion.
“On the party’s instruction to promote Kolkata International Film Festival in every locality in Kolkata, I was organizing an open-air show near Rashbehari Avenue. Everyone knows that for better visibility we need to switch off the street lights. We did the same and that too after getting a NOC from the civic body,” TMC minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said.
Describing the incident he further said, “We were supposed to start the show around 6 PM but the lights were switched on by Mala Roy supporters. I called up a senior official at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) who was in charge of street lights. He assured me all the assistance. After few minutes, lights were switched off and we started the show. Within few seconds, the lights were again switched on and her supporters heckled me. Finally, we had to call off the show. I strongly condemned this incident.
TMC MP Mala Roy, who is also the chairperson of the KMC, rubbished all the allegations and said, “The local people complained that he (Sovandeb) had switched off all the street lights in the area where there was no movie show. He was requested to switch off the street lights on the stretch where the movie was being screened. However, he switched off the lights in Rashbehari Avenue, Sree Mohan Lane, SP Mukherjee
Road etc. This irked the local people and they protested. No one heckled him.”
Meanwhile, party supremo Mamata Banerjee asked for explanations from both the party leaders on this issue.