KOLKATA: A Day after the Central government recalled West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay for central deputation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday alleged that the decision was a result of political vendetta of the Centre.
Banerjee also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the letter and allow Bandopadhyay to continue to work for the state, especially in the wake of the ongoing Covid crisis and the post-Cyclone Yaas situation in Bengal.
“What is his (Alapan Bandopadhyay) fault? Being the Chief Secretary, it is his duty to assist me. They might have a lot of grievances against me and they are insulting me in different ways. I have accepted that, but why is he (Bandopadhyay) being victimized? He is honest and is working round-the-clock. I urge the Prime Minister to withdraw the letter and allow him to work,” Banerjee said while addressing a press conference on Saturday.
The Chief Minister was referring to the incident of the meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday and said that the Central government was reacting in a vindictive manner.
Detailing out the happenings during and after the meeting with the Prime Minister, she said, “I came to know about my meeting with the Prime Minister late on Thursday evening, but by that time I had fixed my schedule. Still as the Prime Minister was coming, it was my courtesy to meet him and so I sought some time from the Prime Minister and I was allowed.”
“I had to cut short my programme to reach Kalaikunda, but I had to wait for 20 minutes because of security protocols. Then we were told that the review meeting had started and I shall have to wait for an hour, but we requested them to allow us only one minute so that we could submit our estimated loss (caused by the cyclone) to the Prime Minister, but they were reluctant. So I entered into the meeting room and submitted the estimate,” Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister also said that she had sought permission from the Prime Minister before leaving for Digha.
“Where is our fault and why should the Chief Secretary be victimised for this? The state was not even consulted before taking the decision. They are always creating problems for us. This is not right,” she said.
The Chief Minister also hinted that there is hardly any possibility of relieving the Chief Secretary at this juncture.
When asked if the state would move the court, Banerjee said, “They have filed a caveat in the court and CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal), making it obvious that they will move the court. We want to solve the problem through negotiation and so I think the Centre would understand.”
The Chief Minister then alleged that the BJP government at the Centre is always in a mood of confrontation because it cannot digest defeat.
Alleging that it (the Centre) is doing politics in everything, Banerjee said, “Initially, it was a meeting between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister but then it was revised. The Prime Minister went to Gujarat and Odisha but there the opposition leaders were not invited.
“Even when he came to make a survey during Amphan last year, the leader of the opposition was not invited. So why this time? The review meeting in a way became a meeting of BJP leaders where I was alone.”
The Chief Minister further alleged that the BJP government at the Centre is doing everything to insult her at each step.
“I can do anything for the people of the state and if the Prime Minister wants me to hold his feet – I am even ready to do that for the benefit of the people. They are continuously insulting and propagating false information through different news channels and media houses. This cannot continue,” she said.