Kolkata: In a bizarre incident, the Block Development Officer (BDO) in West Bengal’s Hasnabad in North 24-Parganas district claimed that he gets inner strength to keep going in life by looking at the portraits of Swami Vivekananda and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Arindam Mukherjee made the statement at a public gathering held to distribute relief materials villagers affected by cyclone ‘Bulbul’ at the Bhebia Gram Panchayat, Sadigachhi, Hasnabad on Saturday.
The BDO Hasnabad put up a pandal and organised a small gathering to distribute relief materials to the affected people. The relief kit named ‘Dignity’ contained tarpauline sheets, two sarees, lungi, dhoti, children's clothes, dry food, stove, utensils and various other daily use items. The kit was sanctioned by the state government and the BDO.
During the relief distribution, the BDO became emotional and said, “If you stand in front of the Chief Minister’s image in the morning for two minute, you will find a strange power. I stand in front of two pictures. One of Swami Vivekananda’s and the other of Banerjee. You get inspiration. Eta nijeke punarjivit kora ( It feels like you're reviving yourself).”
The incident was caught on camera and has drawn sharp criticism from the BJP quarters, which has termed it as ‘height of sycophancy'.
Speaking to News18, Joyprakash Majumdar, vice president of the BJP’s West Bengal unit, said, “I heard about the matter and it is very unfortunate how senior administrative officials are losing their neutrality. Partisan role of administration is everywhere in Bengal. The bureaucrats are under tremendous pressure from the ruling party to save their chair.”
However, district TMC leaders said they didn't find Mukherjee’s statement to be controversial and that “anyone can inspire anyone in this world”.
This is not for first time when a senior officer came under severe criticism for crossing their constitutional limits. In August, a senior IPS officer in Bengal was caught on camera touching Banerjee’s feet after she offered him a slice of cake.
Banerjee - who was seated on a brick wall on the seafront at Digha in East Midnapore - also fed cake to another official present. The viral video prompted sharp criticism from Opposition leaders, with BJP’s Kailash Vijayvargiya questioning what kind of democracy exists in Bengal.