PM Modi-Mamata Banerjee meet row: Centre recalls WB Chief Secretary
The Centre issued an order Friday to recall West Bengal's Chief Secretary, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, directing him to report to the central government's Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Monday. The development came amid a row over CM Mamata Banerjee skipping a PM Narendra Modi-chaired Cyclone Yaas review meeting and instead deciding to have a 15-minute interaction with him earlier on Friday. Here's more.
The Centre asked West Bengal's government to immediately relieve Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch West Bengal-cadre IAS officer who took charge as the Chief Secretary in September 2020. The Centre's order came only four days after his tenure was extended by three months. Banerjee earlier wrote to PM Modi to grant at least a six-month extension to Bandyopadhyay citing his experience in handling the COVID-19 situation.
The Ministry of Personnel's order recalling Bandyopadhyay stated, "The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the placement of the services of Shri Alapan Bandyopadhyay...with the Government of India, as per provisions of rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) rules, 1954, with immediate effect." The Centre directed him to report to DoPT's office at North Block in Delhi by 10:00 am Monday.
Approved the placement of Alapan Bandyopadhyay (West Bengal Chief Secretary) with the Government of India. Accordingly, the State Govt is requested to relieve him with immediate effect and direct him to report to the Dept of Personnel Training (DoPT), Delhi by 31st May: DoPT pic.twitter.com/HeyRiEJ7UW— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2021
On Friday, CM Banerjee was to attend the PM Modi-led review meeting but reportedly skipped it and had a 15-minute interaction with him at Kalaikunda airbase in West Bengal. She submitted a report to him, seeking Rs. 20,000cr financial assistance from the Centre. Banerjee allegedly also arrived late to meet PM Modi, who took an aerial survey of several cyclone-hit parts in West Bengal.
However, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders have criticized the Centre's decision to recall the Chief Secretary. "Has this ever happened since Independence? Forced central deputation of a Chief Secretary...How much lower will Modi-Shah's BJP stoop? All because people of Bengal humiliated the duo and chose Mamata Banerjee with an overwhelming mandate (sic)," said TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, attacking the Centre.
Meanwhile, CM Banerjee's office said she told the Centre about the review meeting and was even kept waiting at the airbase. NDTV reported that sources in the state government said the CM's office also separately confirmed the time with PM Modi for the meeting and even informed him she had prior meetings, questioning, "It was all agreed, so why was she made to wait?"