‘Petty Politics’: BJP on Mamata’s ‘Absence’ From PM’s Cyclone Meet

‘Mamata Banerjee’s absence from PM Modi’s meeting is murder of Constitutional ethos,’ BJP chief JP Nadda said. 

3 min read
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday, 28 May, slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her alleged "absence" from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting on Cyclone Yaas, saying it is a "murder of Constitutional ethos and the culture of cooperative federalism".

"When PM Narendra Modi stands strong with the citizens of West Bengal in wake of Cyclone Yaas, Mamata ji should set aside her ego for the welfare of people. Her absence from the PM's meeting is murder of Constitutional ethos and the culture of cooperative federalism," BJP President JP Nadda said in a tweet.

"PM Narendra Modi ji holds the principle of cooperative federalism very sacred and has been actively working with all CMs irrespective of party to give relief to the people. Unsurprisingly Mamata Banerjee's tactics and petty politics has once again came to haunt the people of Bengal [sic]," he added.


What Happened?

Banerjee met PM Modi on Friday at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station, where she handed over a preliminary report on the damages caused by Cyclone Yaas.

However, according to reports, Banerjee left soon after handing over the papers during the review meeting.

According to sources cited by news agency ANI, the West Bengal CM, upon entering the review meeting, handed over the papers related to the impact of the cyclone and said that other meetings were lined up and left.

"The PM had called a meeting. We didn't know I had a meeting in Digha. I went to Kalaikunda and gave PM the report, asking for Rs 20,000 crore for Digha development and Sundarban development. I told him you (state's officials) wanted to meet me. I took his permission and left," Banerjee was quoted as saying, adding that she would be conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas on Saturday, 29 May.

Sources close to Banerjee cited by ANI further pointed out that she was asked to reach 20 minutes later than the scheduled time (of the review meeting).

“... Later her chopper was moved around for 15 more minutes. She was asked to wait when she reached, as the review meet had already started... The CM along with chief secretary entered and greeted the PM. They spoke to each other, CM handed over the notes of damages, took his permission, and came to Digha. The PM was also told that there’s a review meeting in Digha.”
Sources close to Mamata Banerjee, as quoted by ANI

This was the first time the two of them met since the acrimonious West Bengal polls ended last month, giving a sweeping victory to the TMC over the BJP.

The review meeting was also attended by state Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari.


Apart from Nadda, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also slammed Banerjee in a set of tweets, saying the developments in West Bengal were shocking.

"The CM and PM are not individuals but institutions. Both assume responsibility by taking a pledge of public service and an oath of allegiance to the Constitution. This kind of behaviour with the Prime Minister, who came with the intention of helping the people of Bengal in this time of disaster, is painful. This is an unfortunate example of putting political differences above the pledge of public service and Constitutional duty. It also undermines the spirit of Indian federalism," he wrote.


Aerial Survey Undertaken, Rs 1,000 Cr Relief Announced

PM Modi undertook an aerial survey, covering parts of Odisha and West Bengal, on Friday, to review the situation in the wake of the cyclone.

In a statement later, the PMO said he has announced a financial assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for relief activities, including Rs 500 crore for Odisha, to be given immediately, and Rs 500 crore to West Bengal and Jharkhand, which would be released on the basis of the damage.

An ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured was also announced, the PMO said.

“Centre will deploy an Inter-Ministerial Team to visit the states to assess the extent of damage, based on which further assistance will be given. PM assured Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand that the Centre would closely work with the state governments at this difficult time.”

The Prime Minister had reviewed the impact of the cyclone through a virtual meeting on Thursday, 27 May. The meeting detailed various aspects of the preparations made to deal with the disaster and the assessment of the damage it had caused.

Modi asked the officials to ensure restoration in the affected areas at the earliest to bring back normalcy.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!