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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Suvendu Adhikari storms into Nabanna, submits a memorandum to chief secretary H. K. Dwivedi

This unexpected move came on a day CM took delegation to PM in Delhi demanding release of central funds under rural development schemes

Pranesh Sarkar, Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 21.12.23, 10:25 AM
Suvendu Adhikari

Suvendu Adhikari File picture

The leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, on Wednesday stormed into Nabanna, the state secretariat, and submitted a memorandum to chief secretary H. K. Dwivedi, alleging that common people in the state were being deprived of central government benefits because of misappropriation of funds by Trinamul Congress leaders.

The unexpected move by Adhikari came on a day the Bengal chief minister took a delegation to the Prime Minister in New Delhi demanding the release of central funds under rural development schemes. The funds have been withheld by the Centre for the past one year or so.

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Sources said Adhikari's surprise visit to the state secretariat left the ruling establishment in an awkward situation for several reasons.

First, the meeting with the Prime Minister over the state's demands did not get the sole media attention and Adhikari claimed a major share of it.

Second, Trinamul’s narrative that the poor in Bengal were being deprived of schemes by the BJP-led Centre was countered by Adhikari as he turned the tables on the ruling party in the state and claimed that there was a pause on the funds flow because of defalcation.

Third, as the leader of the Opposition entered the state secretariat without prior appointment of the chief secretary, it raised questions over the security arrangements at the highest secured building in the state.

“Before Adhikari, no Opposition leader could enter Nabanna without prior permission. Earlier, the then BJP leader Mukul Roy had visited Nabanna but he had to submit the memorandum to police and could not meet the chief secretary. Adhikari left the entire administration in a spot,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Sources said Adhikari had first called up the office of the chief secretary and sought an appointment with him. As the office of the chief secretary could not confirm any appointment, Adhikari, along with three BJP MLAs — Shankar Ghosh, Chandana Bauri and Vishal Lama — entered Nabanna through the VIP entrance and went straight to the VIIP lift and reached the 13th floor, which houses Dwivedi’s chamber, around 12 noon.

“The entire administration was dumbstruck as nobody expected him at Nabanna…. Finally, the chief secretary met the BJP delegation for five minutes,” said an official.

Adhikari later said he had raised three issues — common people were being deprived of central schemes like Ayushman Bharat and crop insurance scheme, BJP supporters were denied schemes related to rural housing and sanitation and the authorities not inviting BJP MLAs to administrative meetings.

BJP sources said the issues raised by Adhikari were not important but the leader of the Opposition successfully exposed the Mamata Banerjee government on a day when the chief minister held a meeting with the Prime Minister.

The CPM called Adhikari’s surprise visit to Nabanna a drama. “The problem with the leader of the Opposition is that he doesn’t raise these issues in the Assembly.... He is always trying for media attention and engaging in drama,” said CPM Rajya Sabha member Bikash Bhattacharyya.

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