'Don't insult me': Mamata Banerjee on PM Modi meeting row
Hitting back strongly at PM Narendra Modi's government Saturday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee accused his office of humiliating her and spreading fake, one-sided news over her meeting with him to review the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas in the state. Her attack came after the Centre ordered West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to return to New Delhi over the row. Here's more.
Addressing a press conference "to set things straight," CM Banerjee accused the Modi-led government of insulting her and quarreling with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) after losing West Bengal Assembly elections. "Don't insult me like this. We have got a landslide victory, is that why you are behaving like this? You tried everything and lost. Why are quarreling with us every day?" she questioned.
To recall, the Centre on Friday issued an order to recall Bandyopadhyay to Delhi, directing him to report to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Monday morning. It also asked West Bengal's government to relieve him immediately. This came after Banerjee skipped a PM Modi-chaired review meeting on Cyclone Yaas and instead decided to have a 15-minute interaction with him on Friday.
Banerjee reportedly skipped the meeting due to prior plans and instead had a 15-minute interaction with Modi at Kalaikunda airbase. She submitted a report to him, seeking Rs. 20,000cr financial assistance from the Centre. While the Centre claimed she made PM Modi and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar wait for 30 minutes, Banerjee denied it, saying it was she who waited 20 minutes to meet Modi.
Banerjee said she sought PM Modi's permission to leave the meeting to visit a coastal district as planned earlier. "I had made plans to visit cyclone-hit areas. I had to travel to Sagar and Digha to see the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas. All my plans were made...then suddenly we get a call that Prime Minister wants to visit...to assess the situation," she said.
"I am urging you to withdraw this order against Chief Secretary (Bandyopadhyay). Please allow him to work amidst this pandemic and also carry out post-cyclone relief work," CM Banerjee said. "What was the fault of the Chief Secretary? He was working with me, he is a state government officer. Vacant chairs were shown deliberately to project my government in poor light," she added.
"By doing this you are insulting all Chief Secretaries across the nation - in all states. Do you think the IAS, IPS, and other civil services do not have a lobby? Do not insult or challenge them. They work very hard," said CM Banerjee.