West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday lost her cool and stormed out of an interactive TV session here when members of audience asked her about the arrest of a professor for forwarding a cartoon lampooning her.
"It is not a cartoon. We love the cartoon. Cartoon is a different thing. He is a CPI (M) man, He misused the e-mail of his society people without their consent. He forwarded it to 60 people," Banerjee said angrily when a student from Jadavpur University asked her about the arrest of Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra.
Claiming that the professor was not an intellectual, but a "CPI (M) agent", she told the moderator that "after election CPI (M) had sent thousands of CDs, if you are a woman and if you see them, you will feel ashamed. CPI (M) and Maoists are working together."
"...The message in the cartoon which contained the word 'vanish' is a murder conspiracy and a plot supported by CPI (M). What he has done is a cyber crime. It is not a cartoon, it is a political conspiracy to murder me," Banerjee claimed.
Stating that her government believed in democracy, she said, "Otherwise, he (Ambikesh) should have been in custody. He has done a wrong thing. He misused the e-mail. I know that Maoist people and CPI (M) are putting up these questions," the chief minister told an interactive session organised by news channel CNN-IBN.
When a girl from Jadavpur University rose to ask a question, Banerjee asked "Why (students from) other universities are not here? There are so many universities. You tell me why, What about the others.
"Are you a Maoist?" Banerjee asked the girl.
The student shot back, "I am not a Maoist."
When the moderator referred to crime against women in the state, Banerjee dismissively said, "no crime. No crime against women."
Told by a questioner that she had supported the Maoists at the national level in an apparent reference to her statement that the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was "not correct", the chief minister replied, "we did not support the Maoists. This is wrong."
To an another question, Banerjee said, "we don't support the Maoists. There are so many things and other issues to ask. What is this nonsense going on? Maoists people are here. They are Maoist students. I cannot answer the Maoists' questions and CPI (M) questions.
"They are the CPI (M) cadres. I am not going to reply. I will give reply to questions from common people. I am sorry to say you belong to CPI (M). You are SFI cadres. We know all of you," a furious Banerjee told the audience.
"You did not tell me before," she told the moderator before making her exit.