'Why were there other BJP leaders', asks Mamata after skipping meeting with PM Modi

·3-min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in Kolkata on Saturday (Photo/ANI)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference in Kolkata on Saturday (Photo/ANI)

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], May 29 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday questioned the presence of other BJP leaders in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's review meeting with her aftermath of Cyclone Yaas.

"When we reached, the meeting had started. They asked us to sit, I asked them to allow us a minute to submit the report. The SPG (Special Protection Group) told us that meeting will be after one hour. I saw empty chairs in the conference room. I was told that the meeting was between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister. But why were there other BJP leaders?" the Chief Minister told reporters here.

Banerjee's remarks come against the backdrop of BJP leader and Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari attending the Prime Miniter's review meeting in Paschim Medinipur on Friday.

Besides Adhikari, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Debashree Chowdhury were also present in the meeting.

"What was our fault? Why in the last two years there was no requirement of parliamentary opposition leaders or why not in Gujarat opposition leaders were called at meetings? After I took oath as the chief minister, the Governor spoke about law and order and central teams were sent," she claimed.

Banerjee alleged that the BJP-ruled Centre wants to defame her by running a false narrative in the media and social media.

"Under a plan, they were showing some vacant chairs (in pictures). Why would I sit when I could see political party leaders who were not entitled to attend the meeting, were present. However, I did meet the Prime Minister," the chief minister stated.

On the recall order of the state chief secretary, Banerjee said, "I felt bad. They humiliated me by running the one-sided information circulated by the PMO. When I was working, they were doing this. For the sake of people, I am ready to touch your feet. Stop this political vendetta. Only because you cannot digest the fact that you lost the election in Bengal? I request Prime Minister to withdraw this order of chief secretary (being attached to DoPT) and let us work."

"There should be some courtesy. The Centre is not letting the State work. Do not insult me like this, do not defame Bengal. Bengal is my priority and I will never put it in danger. I will remain a security guard for the people here. My Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Finance Secretary have been attending meetings all the time. They are working for the Centre, when will they do the State job. Do not you think it is a political vendetta," she said.

On skipping Prime Minister's review meeting, she said she had a "pre-scheduled" meeting in Digha and the information of the Prime Minister's meeting came all of a sudden.

"I had made plans to visit cyclone-hit areas. I had to travel to Sagar and Digha to see the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas. All my plans were made and ready... then suddenly we get a call that Prime Minister wants to visit Bengal to assess the situation after the cyclone," Banerjee said.

"We told Prime Minister that we have to go to Digha as the weather is not good. We visited Patharpratima and other places, though the weather did not permit it. We went there to meet Prime Minister to hand over the project report. I handed over the report to him and took his permission before we left," she added.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting at Kalaikunda in Paschim Medinipur district to take stock of the post cyclonic situation. Mamata Banerjee was supposed to attained the meeting. However, she along with the state chief secretary arrived late by 30 minutes and handed him over reports of damage caused by the impact of Cyclone Yaas. Following this, she left for her "pre-scheduled" meeting at Digha.

Banerjee asked for a Rs 20,000 crore relief package from the Centre after a cyclonic storm Yaas ravaged several parts of the state. (ANI)

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