Kolkata: Following a bitter face-off over a meeting to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Yaas, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Mamata accused the PMO of feeding “fake, one-sided, partisan news” to the media.
“Don’t insult me like this. We have got a landslide victory, is that why you are behaving like this? You tried everything and lost. Why are you quarrelling with us every day?” Mamata said at a news conference “to set things straight”.
The West Bengal CM’s outburst came after the Centre ordered state Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay was asked to return to Delhi. According to NDTV’s sources, Mamata had “skipped” a meeting led by PM Modi, and pictures showing her vacant seat were plastered by BJP leaders on social media.
“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,” Mamata said.
Mamata also contested the Centre’s claim that she kept the prime minister and governor waiting for 30 minutes.
“By the time were reached the place where the PM-CM meeting was to be held, we found out that the PM had already arrived there some time ago and that there was a meeting going on. We were asked to wait outside, told that there will be no entry at the moment because a meeting is going on. We waited patiently for a while. Then, when we asked again, we were told that no one can enter for the next one hour,” the chief minister said.
“Then someone told us that the meeting has moved to the conference hall, so the Chief Secretary and I decided to go there. When we reached there, we saw the PM was in a meeting with the Honourable Governor, central leaders and even some MLAs of the opposition party.
“This was clearly against the brief. It was supposed to be only a PM-CM meeting. So, we decided to submit our report to the PM and then with the Prime Minister’s permission we went to Digha. I sought the Prime Minister’s permission three times,” she added.
Mamata requested the prime minister to withdraw the transfer orders for the Chief Secretary and called it an insult of the country’s bureaucrats.