The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Saturday that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to politicise everything in the wake of demonetisation after indulging in a war of words with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. BJP leader S Prakash snubbed Banerjee, saying that she is behaving like ruler of some union and not of a state of some democratic country.
“She is seriously under the impression that she is heading a union of West Bengal, which is part and parcel of India and abides by its Constitution. The army serves every state impartially. She is just trying to politicise everything in the wake of demonetisation,” Prakash told ANI.
The political row over the recent army drill at toll plazas in West Bengal flared up again on Friday as Parrikar wrote a letter to Banerjee, saying her allegations can “adversely” impact the morale of the armed forces.
Banerjee hit back over his “wild assertion”. She maintained that the Ministry of Defence had not taken prior permission of the state government for the large deployment of army personnel in civilian areas.
On December 1, as part of exercises across Bengal and several northeast states, the army had deployed unarmed soldiers at check points and toll plazas to note the movement of vehicles which could be diverted in case of a major disaster, military operation or war.
Seeing soldiers at a toll plaza just 500 metres away from her new secretariat in Kolkata, left Mamata infuriated and she refused to leave her office until the army moved its troops out. She left her office 30 hours later.
The West Bengal government said the army was denied permission to hold the exercises. The army, however, produced correspondence with the state’s police and civil administration, and also asserted that the exercises are held annually.