File photo of RBI Governor Urjit Patel Photograph:( AFP )
Urjit Patel, the governor of Reserve Bank of India -- the country's central banking institution, was under the cosh during his Kolkata trip on Thursday as Congress and Trinamool Congress supporters waved black flags and resorted to high-decibel sloganeering to mark their protest against demonetisation.
Black flags and chants of 'go back Urjit' followed Patel wherever he went -- he was first greeted with derision by Trinamool Congress workers when he visited RBI's regional office in West Bengal's capital city of Kolkata and a few hours later, he was condemned to a similar behaviour when he reached the airport.
The Left in the city were in good numbers as well to rail against the government's decision to flush out old currency notes.
Patel was in India's eastern city of Kolkata to take stock of the situation in east and northeast India in the aftermath of the unprecedented and unexpected cash scrap.
In the morning, Patel reached RBI's Kolkata branch to convene a central board meeting much ahead of the scheduled time of 10 am and entered the building from the rear side to evade media spotlight. But supporters of Trinamool Congress, which enjoys formidable support in Bengal, had already massed outside the building to wave black flags and raise anti-establishment cries.
Patel subsequently met Trinamool chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at 3.30 in the afternoon to discuss issues plaguing the banks in the state.
"From Maharashtra to Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh to Bihar, Chennai to Kolkata I gave my views on behalf of the commoners. But after meeting him, I felt immensely satisfied as I got an opportunity to express my views before him," Banerjee later told a media gathering.
And when he reached the Kolkata International Airport, he was subjected to similar vitriol as Congress workers allegedly heckled him. The 53-year-old economist had to be escorted inside the airport by the police.
Both Trinamool Congress and the Congress have been vociferous opponets of the demonetisation policy.