BeyondHeadlines Staff Reporter
Kolkata: West Bengal’s new Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has z-plus security, is giving sleepless nights to the Kolkata police with her penchant for making unscheduled visits on her way to office.
Banerjee has refused to use her official bulletproof car, dispensed with the pilot car of her convoy, which she has also pruned and claims no preference for her vehicles at traffic signals, which has left security officials worried.
“The chief minister has instructed the police that she didn’t need any extra arrangements and will follow traffic rules like any other citizen,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Commenting on her own security, the chief minister told a Madhymaik topper who said her mother was concerned about it, “I will keep in mind what you are saying.
“Tell your mother that I am thankful to her for thinking about my safety,” Banerjee told the girl Megha Mullick of the Ramkrishna Mission Sarada Vidyapeeth in Jayrambati during a TV interview.
Banerjee after taking over the mantle has been using the car provided by a party colleague.
On May 20, the day of swearing-in of the Mamata Banerjee government, the Trinamool Congress supremo walked the 500 metre from the Raj Bhavan to the Writer’s Buildings.
Huge crowds surged in from all sides for a glimpse of the state’s first woman chief minister, as harried security personnel tried to maintain order.
The crowds were so enthusiastic finding the chief minister walking in their midst that they followed her into the Writers’ Buildings.
There was a serious security lapse inside when security personnel found the main entry to the chief minister’s chamber blocked by people who had gathered in huge numbers in the corridor.
The harried security men had to escort her through the conference room to her chamber.
According to West Bengal Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee, “the chief minister desires that the security will not look aggressive with less vehicles in the convoy, no pilot car and no bulletproof car.”
He said, however, that there would be more plainclothesmen around the chief minister and that her security would never be compromised.
Banerjee has also been making unscheduled visits and freely interacting with the people. In the last seven days, Banerjee paid surprise visits to two state-run hospitals, the SSKM and the Bangur Institute of Neurology as also the Alipore Bodyguard Lines.
She turned back from visiting another one, the R G Kar Hospital, because of the crowds. A police officer shrugs helplessly, “We used to provide security for previous chief ministers on conventional lines, but now we will have to develop innovative security for the new chief minister.
“Her security cannot be compromised, but has to be maintained as desired by her.”