In an unprecedented move, the central government Friday recalled West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, hours after a row broke out between the Narendra Modi government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over a review meeting on Cyclone Yaas. Banerjee, along with Bandyopadhyay, did not attend the review meeting on Cyclone Yaas Friday (28 May 2021), citing other appointments. She also made PM Modi wait for 30 minutes.
On Friday (28 May 2021) evening, the central government recalled West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay who accompanied the CM to the meeting. He has been deputed to the Ministry of Public Grievances and Pensions. The order came four days after the centre had approved a three-month extension.
The development comes hours after Ms Banerjee skipped a meeting with PM Modi to assess the impact of Cyclone Yaas, choosing instead a quick 15-minute interaction with him at an airbase where his flight landed. She was to attend a cyclone damage review with PM Modi but left after handing him a report. The centre alleged Ms Banerjee kept PM Modi and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar waiting for half-an-hour.
The Trinamool Congress criticised the centre's move to recall the top officer. "Has this ever happened since Independence? Forced central deputation of a Chief Secretary of a state. How much lower will Modi-Shah's BJP stoop? All because people of Bengal humiliated the duo and chose Mamata Banerjee with an overwhelming mandate," Trinamool MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said.
"There are so many states. Don't you think by humiliating my chief secretary, you are humiliating all of them? Why are you behaving like this? Just because we won a landslide victory [in the state assembly election]? People of Bengal voted for us and they ousted you. Please accept the mandate,"
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday (29 May 2021).