Criticising Mamata Banerjee for projecting Army’s “annual exercise” in a wrong way, the Centre on Friday said such diversionary tactics and stalling of Parliament proceedings have left people “dissatisfied”. The row over Army taking over road toll plazas in West Bengal echoed in Parliament with TMC seeing “sinister” designs behind the move and the government vehemently denying the charge, saying it was a routine exercise conducted in full knowledge of the local authorities.
On Friday, Chief Minister Banerjee decided to stay put at the state secretariat for the night, even after the force was removed from a toll plaza near it as per her demand. “One day there was a diversion or delay of an aircraft. Only Mamata Banerjee was not on that aircraft, many others were also there. The government has concern about all of them. She (Mamata) said it (aircraft) ran out of fuel. An enquiry was set up under DGCA. But she made it a big issue as if it is personally oriented.
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“Second, the military is checking vehicles there (WB). They have already said it is an annual exercise. What is her problem? If she wants to rake up these issue, she can. But diverting from real issues like tackling black money, why are they hesitant on discussing that, I do not understand,” Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said.
Naidu who also holds the portfolio of Information and Broadcasting and Urban development said that people of the country are very dissatisfied as the House is being disturbed by raking up some reason or the other.
“Disturbing the House by raking up one reason or the other, people are dissatisfied by it and they will become angry,” the Minister said.
Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd) V K Singh termed it as “painful” the portraying of an routine exercise by the army in a wrong way and said questioning the credibility of army by doing politics over it was “sad”. “Army does a routine exercise in every state. Showing that routine exercise in a wrong way, is very painful,” Singh said.
Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat on Friday protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several parts of the state and asked whether it was an “army coup”. Army strongly rebutted Banerjee’s allegations, saying the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.