BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, February 6: State Water Resources minister Basanta Das was left red–faced today after Union minister Uma Bharti poked fun at him for his gaffes at the iugural function of the Assam Water Conference here.
In the presence of DoNER minister Dr Jitendra Singh, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla seated on the dais, Basanta Das began his address by referring to the Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvetion minister as “Srimati Uma Banerjee”.
This caused much mirth amongst the 500–odd members in the audience, comprising of officials from the ministry and noted engineers and scientists from across the country and abroad. “What is he saying? Isn’t it a written speech?” whispered one loudly from the audience. “Perhaps, he mistook her for Mamata Banerjee,” replied his neighbour.
However, Das maged to get Bharti’s me right while mentioning it at the conclusion of his address. “Now he got it right,” a voice from the audience was heard saying.
When the Union minister was invited to address the gathering, she began by referring to Das’ goof–ups: “I really had fun hearing him. He not only addressed me as Banerjee but also as Srimati. Maybe he is not aware, I am fifty–five years old and have taken sanyas…there is no chance now and no vacancy (to get married).”
The Union minister rubbed it in as she continued: “I have no problem with anyone calling me by any surme, whether Banerjee, Chatterjee or even
Hazarika for that matter. You become a universal citizen after taking sanyas. Maybe someone from a neighbouring state was acting upon his mind (Mamata Banerjee),” Bharti said, much to the amusement of the audience.
Significantly, Basanta Das’ Water Resources department is hosting the event where Uma Bharti was invited as guest.