KOLKATA: Dubbing the West Bengal government's order asking state-run and state-funded libraries to stock only specific newspapers as "most partial and undemocratic", the Congress on Sunday urged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to immediately withdraw the order.
"West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee is deeply concerned over the recent controversy and turmoil surrounding the issuance of a circular by the Directorate of Library Services, Government of West Bengal.
The content of the circular identifying specific newspapers with the direction for their use in all libraries across the state is most partial and undemocratic," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharjee told Mamata in a letter, copies of which were made available to the press here.
Mamata has attracted severe criticism from all sections of society following the government's order to state-sponsored and aided libraries to stock only specific newspapers for promoting "free thinking" among readers.
She has further fuelled the controversy by asserting that she may in future even ask people to stop buying certain newspapers "because a conspiracy is going on against us". The Congress said the government's decision to ban most leading dailies from these libraries was "shocking".
"In our constitutional and democratic political order, such partiality towards select newspapers and the directive that no other newspapers can be kept in the libraries is shocking," Bhattacharjee said in the letter.
There was no such precedence of this type of "blatant attempt to institutionalise a system of patronage at the cost of exchequer", he stated. He appealed to the chief minister to consider immediate withdrawal of the circular.