New Delhi, May 28 (PTI) BJP leaders, including several Union ministers, hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday for skipping a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Cyclone Yaas, with BJP president J P Nadda accusing her of 'murder of constitutional ethos and the culture of cooperative federalism.' 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.
'This kind of behaviour with the prime minister, who arrived in the state with a sense of helping people of Bengal in the time of disaster, is painful. This is an unfortunate example of keeping political differences above public service and constitutional duties, which harms the basic spirit of India's federal system,' Singh said.
Shah tweeted, 'Mamata Didi's conduct today is an unfortunate low. Cyclone Yaas has affected several common citizens and the need of the hour is to assist those affected. Sadly, Didi has put arrogance above public welfare and today’s petty behaviour reflects that.' Nadda said Modi holds the principle of cooperative federalism 'very sacred' and has been actively working with all chief ministers irrespective of their party affiliation to give relief to people but unsurprisingly, he added, Banerjee's tactics and petty politics have once again come to haunt the people of Bengal.
'When PM Narendra Modi stands strong with the citizens of West Bengal in wake of Cyclone Yaas, Mamata ji should also set aside her ego for the welfare of people. Her absence from the PM's meeting is murder of constitutional ethos & the culture of cooperative federalism,' he tweeted.
Singh added that this was a shocking development.
Chief ministers and prime minister are not merely individuals but institutions, he said.
Modi visited Odisha and West Bengal and held review meetings in both the states on the post-cyclone situation.
While Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attended the meeting with Modi, Banerjee skipped the review meeting in her state.
She, however, submitted a report to the prime minister on the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas in the state, and sought a Rs 20,000-crore package for redevelopment of the worst-affected areas.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar said her decision to skip the meeting with Modi marks a 'black day' in India's rich democratic heritage and accused her of 'disrespecting' the prime minister's office.
'This shameful act has left an irreparable dent in our ethos of cooperative federalism & our constitutional values,' he alleged.
This should also act as an eye-opener for those, who never understood the true definition of fascism, he said, adding that considering oneself as the 'be-all and end-all' in a democratic setup, is the biggest disservice that an elected representative can do to the people who have elected her.
As the West Bengal chief minister, Banerjee's relations with the central government and the BJP top brass have been far from smooth as she has often accused them of using central agencies and also the governor's office to harass her government.
The BJP has denied the charge and often claimed that she has used the state machinery to target its members and accused her of not adhering to constitutional properties in her dealings with the Centre.
The recent assembly election, in which she led her party Trinamool Congress to a big win, saw the rivals involved in bitter campaign, and the result has not led to any thaw so far.
BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav claimed that Banerjee is so disturbed by her defeat in Nandigram that she tried to 'disrespect' Modi by flouting norms.
'She only ended up holding a mirror to her true self. As for the Prime Minister of India, the chair is too sacrosanct to be denigrated by a dictator,' he said. PTI KR SMN