Mamata discharged from SSKM hospital on her request, may have to campaign in a wheelchair

Published : March 12, 2021 22:28 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leaves the SSKM Hospital in a wheelchair, in Kolkata on March 12. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was discharged on March 12 from the SSKM hospital in Kolkata where she was admitted with injuries on March 10 following an alleged attack on her in Nandigram in Purbo Medinipur district. According to the hospital authorities, the doctors wanted to keep her under observation for another 48 hours, but discharged her upon her insistence. With the Assembly election beginning from March 27, Mamata, the ruling party Trinamool Congress’ biggest draw, may have to campaign in a wheelchair for some time at least.

Announcing her discharge, the SSKM authorities said, “She has responded to the treatment and the improvement in her condition is very satisfactory. Her plaster slab (on her left leg) was opened this morning and her injury was examined. The size of the haematoma has diminished considerably, the injury on her ankle showed a marked sign of improvement, and a new plaster slab was applied. The doctors had advised her to remain under observation for another 48 hours, but she repeatedly requested that she be discharged. Instructions have been given to her and she has been explained certain restrictions as well. She has been told that the medical board will re-examine her after seven days.”

On the evening of March 10, hours after filing her nomination from Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee was injured while greeting her supporters from her car. The door of the slow-moving vehicle was open and Mamata was partially out of the car when the door shut on her, and she suffered injuries on her left leg. Mamata alleged that it was a premeditated attack and four to five people had deliberately slammed the door on her to cause her harm. She also claimed that not a single policeman was in sight at that time. Although witnesses reportedly denied any attack on the Chief Minister and many claimed that the door of the car shut after hitting a rod by the side of the road, the incident, nevertheless, raised questions on the Chief Minister’s security. Mamata has Z Plus security cover and as Home Minister of the State has full control over the police.

The alleged attack has become a major political issue with both the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking the intervention of the Election Commission of India (ECI). In a letter to the ECI, dated March 12, the Trinamool Congress indicated that the BJP had a hand in the “deep-rooted conspiracy” against the Chief Minister. The letter said: “On 8 March 2021, Dilip Ghosh, State President of BJP, made a post on his Facebook page with a caricature of Ms Banerjee depicting that she would be hit at Nandigram…. Around the same time numerous complaints were filed by BJP with the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking immediate removal of the erstwhile Director General & IGP of State of West Bengal. Almost immediately and unilaterally, on 9 March 2021, in an abrupt decision, without consultation with the State Government, the ECI removed the erstwhile DGP… Later that night (3:27 A.M, 10 March, 2021), Saumitra Khan, BJP MP, replied to a Tweet by Babul Supriyo, BJP MP, stating… ‘you will come to know tomorrow after 5 p.m.’ It clearly indicates that something grave was planned and was in the offing beyond 5 p.m. at Nandigram on 10 March 2021.” The letter also claimed that eyewitnesses were “planted” to cover up the attack.

The BJP, which had asked for a CBI investigation, went to the office of the ECI on March 12 to request for a high-level investigation. Speaking to the media, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta said, “There is so much speculation and dispute surrounding this incident, we want the video of the incident to be placed in the public domain. At the time of the incident, the driver of the car was present, her personal security personnel were present, and it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to talk to these people and find out the real story behind this mystery.”