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After Modi-Mamata Meet Row, CM Vents Anger



Venting out her anger a day after the row over her skipping Cyclone Yaas review meet, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that if the prime minister asks her to touch his feet for the welfare of the people of her state, she’s ready to do that but she “should not be insulted”. The CM expressed her disappointment over inviting BJP leaders and governor to the meeting, when it was a “PM-CM interaction”.

“PMO humiliated me, and posted tweets to tarnish my image. Why were BJP leaders, governor called to cyclone review meeting when it was meant to be between PM and CM. I felt insulted,” she said.

Banerjee also requested PM Modi to withdraw the order the recalled chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay, and asked him to allow the bureaucrat to word for Covid-infected people and areas in Bengal.

The tussle began when Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down to Odisha on Friday to review the post-cyclone situation, and then made his way to West Bengal, where the Cyclone Yaas wreaked havoc in the coastal districts.

The leaders of the state, including governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Debashree Chaudhari, were scheduled to hold a meeting with the prime minister on the storm damage. However, sources said that Banerjee made the leaders wait for 30 minutes and then “stormed into the meeting only for a few minutes and handed over a bunch of papers to the prime minister as an assessment of the damage”. This led several BJP leaders to launch a scathing attack on the CM.

Senior BJP leaders launched sharp attack on her, with Union minister Amit Shah accusing her of putting “arrogance above public welfare” while another senior minister Rajnath Singh described her conduct as shocking and painful. BJP president JP Nadda accused her of “murder of constitutional ethos and the culture of cooperative federalism.”

Sources further said that what came as a bigger shock is that despite the presentation slide being loaded on the screen, Banerjee did not allow the chief secretary or the home secretary to even make the presentation before the prime minister. Some government leaders called it an example of “deep-rooted arrogance” and “disregard for the highest chair in the Government of India”.

Some other sources said that the provocation on Friday was the invite to Banerjee’s bete-noire and victor from Nandigram, Suvendu Adhikari, to be present in the PM’s review meeting. She insisted that this is a “government-to-government” meeting with no need for the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) to be present and indicated she would skip the meeting if Adhikari was made a part of the same.

Central government sources said the PM had shown “far more grace” by not referring to the “unfortunate behavior” of the CM in the official press statement on the visit released by the Prime Minister’s Office. Modi was courteous to the CM during the few minutes she spent in the review meeting while handing him over a report on the cyclone’s impact and then left saying she had to visit Digha.

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