Kolkata, April 18 IANS | 6 months ago

"I thought I would die" of suffocation, said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday as she relived the horror when she narrowly escaped a fire that broke out in her hotel room.


"I could not see anything as there was smoke all round. Luckily the room was not bolted and I ran out covering myself with a blanket. I inhaled a lot of the gas and thought I will die of suffocation" said Banerjee who was in the washroom when she heard a loud sound and came out to find the room engulfed in smoke.

The Trinamool Congress chief was staying in a private hotel in Malda town in Malda district after campaigning when the AC in her room caught fire, throwing out thick smoke and soot.

Banerjee will continue to address party rallies.

"The whole night I had breathing trouble and had to use oxygen cylinder. Though I am not well, but I cannot cancel my programmes," said Banerjee before heading to address a rally in Nalhati in Birbhum district.

While her party leaders continued to see a conspiracy behind the incident and even attacked the Election Commission for its failure to ensure the safety of the chief minister, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called for the intervention of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

"I think CBI should be called in," Chowdhury said reacting to the incident.

Trinamool leader and state Sports Minister Madan Mitra said "poisonous fumes were released in the CM's room in pursuance of a conspiracy", while party general secretary Mukul Roy shot off a letter to the Election Commission crying foul over the incident.

In his letter to Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and state chief electoral officer Sunil Kumar Gupta, Roy accused the EC of failing in its duty to ensure Banerjee's safety and security.

"Safety norms and procedures were completely disregarded by the administrative machinery under your control. This incident could have had fatal, disastrous consequences with repercussions in West Bengal and the entire nation. One cannot rule out a deep, devious conspiracy behind the incident," Roy said in his letter.

The police have initiated a probe into the matter and a forensic team examined the room and collected samples.

(Posted on 18-04-2014)

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