West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday countered the narrative ‘spread by the BJP’ after the controversy over her absence at the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the damage from Cyclone Yaas. She accused the PMO of feeding “fake, one-sided, partisan news” to the media.
At a news conference to set the record straight, she accused Modi of quarrelling with Bengal daily. She asked Modi not to insult her like this and that his behaviour towards Bengal was because he had lost badly in the assembly election.
The conference comes amid the centre asking the top Bengal bureaucrat to return to Delhi. Earlier it was alleged that Banerjee had skipped the meeting and BJP had used pics of her empty seat at the post-cyclone meeting across social media.
At the conference, Banerjee said she had a quick 15-minute interaction with Modi at the airbase after his flight landed.
Mamata Banerjee’s explanation for absence from meeting
She said she already had a plan to visit the coastal districts in the state and had also sought Modi’s permission before leaving.
“I already had plans to visit cyclone-hit areas of Sagar and Digha. Our plans were already made when we were suddenly informed that PM would visit Bengal to assess the damage post the cyclone,” said Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee accused Modi of calling the meeting to settle political parties as the invitation was also extended to the leader of opposition in Bengal who is from the BJP as well as to the governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. Banerjee and Dhankhar have been at loggerheads for quite some time.
Banerjee’s allegations can’t be dismissed given the fact that similar invitations were not extended to leaders of opposition and governors in Odisha and Gujarat, two other cyclone hit states that Modi had toured.
Mamata Banerjee also alleged that Modi made her wait for 20 minutes contrary to the claims that she made him wait for half an hour.
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