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Modi vs Mamata: Why the Ego Battle Is Causing More Harm Than Good

What message is the Centre sending in this tug of war over former state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay?

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Barely a month after the announcement of the West Bengal Assembly election results, where Trinamool Congress won with a landslide victory, political theatrics between the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee are still finding their way into the administration of the state.

This time, the drama surrounds the now-former state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

However, in a dramatic escalation of events, just four days after the Centre extended his term as chief secretary at the request of Mamata Banerjee, the Centre recalled him back to North Block.

This was just a few hours after both Banerjee and Bandyopadhyay skipped a review meeting held by the PM on Cyclone Yaas at Kalaikunda Airport on 28 May.

According to Banerjee, they submitted two reports of the damage by the cyclone and funds required for relief and reconstruction.

Banerjee, in a letter to the Centre, made it clear that she will not allow Bandyopadhyay’s transfer to Delhi as he was handling the state’s COVID crisis and accused the PM of treating bureaucrats like “bonded laborers.”

And Bandyopadhyay, instead of reporting to the Centre, announced that he is retiring. But, in an interesting twist, soon after his announcement, he was appointed in a special position as the chief advisor to Mamata Banerjee.

But his new appointment may not protect him from the Centre’s displeasure which, on 31 May, issued a show-cause notice to Bandyopadhyay for his absence from the review meeting and asked him to submit a response within three days.

How did the BJP-TMC feud begin and how has it taken shape over the past month since the West Bengal elections and what political message is the Centre sending in this tug of war over a veteran civil servant?

To discuss this, we spoke with senior journalist and author Payal Singh Mohanka and The Quint’s Political Editor Aditya Menon. Tune in!

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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