KOLKATA: High drama prevailed at Howrah Station on Friday as a visibly annoyed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to get up on the dais from where the Vande Bharat express to New Jalpaiguri will be flagged off.
Banerjee seemed upset by the loud sloganeering from a section of the invited crowd at the railway station.
Attempts by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Governor C V Ananda Bose to pacify her did not bear fruit, as the chief minister chose to seat on a chair along with the audience.
The Vande Bharat Express connecting Howrah and New Jalpaiguri, the gateway to the northeast, as well as several development projects, was virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Later, after a metro rail ride, Railway minister Vaishaw downplayed the incident while speaking with newspersons at Taratala and said the chief minister had been invited with ''aadar'' (affection) and ''samman'' (respect). He said ''aise koi baat nahi hui ke naraaz hone ki baat ho. Karyakarta naare lagate hai (Nothing occurred to cause any angst. Workers often mouth slogans)''.