Suvendu Adhikari jibe on Alapan Bandyopadhyay row
Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MLA and leader of the Opposition in Bengal Assembly, on Tuesday took to Twitter to accuse chief minister Mamata Banerjee and former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay of destroying the federal structure by “skipping’”a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demand stricter action against the bureaucrat.
The series of tweets, sources in the party said, was a result of instructions from BJP headquarters in Delhi.
The tug-of-war between the state and Centre over Bandyopadhyay, whom the Modi government had given a three-month extension before unilaterally attaching him to the Centre, didn't go down well with many in the state BJP amid murmurs that the action was being seen as another central affront to Bengal.
Theatre of the absurd is playing out in West Bengal.— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) June 1, 2021
For the sake of her own ego, to destroy India’s federal structure and protect the Chief Secretary for his indiscipline, (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial Didi is bringing disrepute to the CM office and the Constitution of India.
The tweets by Adhikari, a source said, was aimed at silencing dissent within the state BJP. Many in the state BJP told this paper that a decorated officer like Bandyopadhyay was being unnecessarily harassed by Delhi, which could go against the party’s interest in Bengal.
“Theatre of the absurd is playing out in West Bengal. For the sake of her own ego, to destroy India’s federal structure and protect the Chief Secretary for his indiscipline, (non-MLA) CM @MamataOfficial (Mamata Banerjee) Didi is bringing disrepute to the CM office and the Constitution of India,” Adhikari tweeted.
On Bandyopadhyay, Adhikari wrote: “Is it really becoming of a CS to skip the Prime Minister’s meet organised to help the people in duress due to Cyclone Yass? No. It is not.” He demanded strictest action against Bandyopdahyay for “indiscipline, violating service rules at a time of a natural disaster and a global pandemic…”
The tweets bear resemblance to statements made by central BJP leaders and senior ministers of the Modi cabinet on this issue. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Monday accused Bandyopadhay of walking out of Modi’s meeting and hence insulting the Prime Minister.
Many state BJP leaders speaking to The Telegraph had said that this will go against the party’s interests in Bengal.
“This move didn’t go down well with the people of the state. However, our leadership in Delhi don’t want the state unit’s view to prevail and hence comes the tweets from Suvenduda,” a state BJP office bearer said.
The larger saffron ploy becomes clear if one compares the contents of Suvendu’s tweets with those of Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. Dhankhar, on Tuesday, put out three tweets levelling similar allegations against Mamata and Bandyopadhyay. He went ahead to dub May 28 as ‘a dark day in India’s long-standing ethos of cooperative federalism’ because the duo were ‘absent’ at the meeting.
However Mamata has herself repeatedly clarified that neither herself nor Bandyopadhyay skipped the meeting with the PM. She made it a point to underscore that she had gone to meet the PM following the protocol and courtesy and handed over the documents related to the devastation caused by Yaas and left only with his permission.
Suvendu, in his tweets, also alleged that Mamata ‘is moving heaven and earth to protect him’ because Bandyopadhyay knows ‘secrets’. He claimed that Bandyopadhyay will be paid ‘a comfortable salary of Rs 2.5 lakhs per month and cushy perks’ in his new position as the chief advisor to the CM. According to the Nandigram MLA, this would be a waste of money.
The group of BJP leaders who are disgruntled over the issue reacted to Suvendu’s tweets by saying that the damage to the party’s image in Bengal has already been done and these tweets could do little to revive it. “People are dubbing the issue of Alapanbabu as BJP’s vendetta towards Bengal for handing them a defeat. Suvenduda’s tweets will do little to change that,” a source said.