Bengal Governor says Mamata hinted at boycotting PM meet, TMC hits out

The governor’s remarks came on a day Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, targeted Banerjee and former Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay for leaving the review meeting.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a telephonic conversation with him, had hinted at boycotting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting on cyclone Yaas in Kalaikunda on May 28. He also claimed that Banerjee indicated she would not attend the meeting if BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari was present.

The governor’s remarks came on a day Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, targeted Banerjee and former Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay for leaving the review meeting.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) hit out at both the governor and Adhikari, with MP Saugata Roy saying Dhankhar’s comment was unfortunate.

“Constrained by false narrative to put record straight: On May 27 at 2316 hrs CM @MamataOfficial messaged ‘may I talk? urgent’. Thereafter on phone indicated boycott by her & officials of PM Review Meet #CycloneYaas if LOP @SuvenduWB attends it. Ego prevailed over public service,” Dhankhar tweeted.

Hitting out at the former chief secretary, the governor added: “With unparalleled trampling of constitutional values & affront to the office of PM, May 28 will go down as ‘a dark day’ in India’s long-standing ethos of cooperative federalism. At PM Review Meet #CycloneYaas democracy was shredded @MamataOfficial and Chief Secy @IASassociation.”

Dhankhar accused Banerjee and Alapan Bandyopadhyay of tearing asunder all constitutional principles and imperilling democracy. “Time #Media to introspectively check fear quotient in WB that threatens rule of law,” he added.

Bandyopadhyay now finds himself in a tussle between the state and the Centre, which recalled him to New Delhi hours after the May 28 meeting. The order came only days after the Centre had approved the state’s proposal to extend his extension by three months till August 31. The order was issued on May 24. However, instead of reporting in New Delhi, the senior bureaucrat chose to retire from service on Monday, and was immediately appointed Chief Adviser to the Chief Minister.

In a letter to Modi on Monday, Mamata Banerjee, without taking Suvendu Adhikari’s name, said a local BJP MLA had no locus to be present in a meeting between a prime minister and a chief minister. “I wanted to have a quiet word with you, a meeting between the PM and the CM as usual. You, however, revised the structure of the meeting to include a local MLA from your party and I am of the view that he had no locus to be present in a PM-CM meeting,” she wrote.

On Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs sent a show-cause notice to Alapan Bandyopadhyay, asking him to explain why he did not attend the prime minister’s meeting.

Hitting out at Dhankhar, the TMC pointed out that the chief minister was involved in public service round the clock.

“The governor has no right to say such things. It is most unfortunate. The chief minister is working round the clock for the interest of the people of Bengal. She knows what to do. The Governor has no other work and that’s he is sending out tweets all day long,” said Saugata Roy.

Meanwhile, Suvendu Adhikari targeted Mamata Banerjee in a series of tweets, accusing her of bringing disrepute to the office of the chief minister and protecting Bandyopadhyay despite his “indiscipline”.

“Theatre of the absurd is playing out in West Bengal. For the sake of her own ego, to destroy India’s federal structure and protect the Chief Secretary for his indiscipline, (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial Didi is bringing disrepute to the CM office and the Constitution of India. What secrets does the outgoing CS know that (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial is moving heaven and earth to protect him? Is it really becoming of a CS to skip the Prime Minister’s meet organised to help the people in duress due to Cyclone Yaas? No. It is not,” he wrote.

The BJP leader also demanded action against the former chief secretary. “I demand strictest action be taken against the outgoing CS for indiscipline, violating service rules at a time of a natural disaster and a global pandemic, irregularities, and not helping others just because of sinister political games. TMC has failed the people of West Bengal. Looting taxpayer money is TMC’s favourite hobby. Outgoing CS and now ‘advisor’ to (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial will enjoy a comfortable salary of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per month and cushy perks. Surely, there are better ways to spend the hard-earned money of the taxpayers,” he added.

Lashing out at Adhikari, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said the BJP leader should be arrested in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation case.

“Suvendu Adhikari must be immediately arrested in both Saradha and Narada cases. To escape from a CBI probe, he has bowed his head down before the BJP and sold his spine. It does not behove a person like Suvendu Adhikari to say things against Alapan Bandyopadhyay. He must speak about allegations against him in Saradha and Narada cases,” said Ghosh.

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