Bengal opposition parties flay Mamata for dragging army into politics

Kolkata, Dec 2 (IANS) West Bengal’s opposition parties on Friday lashed out at Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for trying to use the army to score political brownie points.

The state Bharatiya Janata Party even demanded her resignation.

Accusing the central government of deploying the army at several highway toll plazas while keeping her government in the dark, Banerjee stayed put at the state secretariat Nibanna on Thursday night and continued to remain there till Friday afternoon.

Banerjee has argued that she was keeping vigil at the secretariat to protect democracy, the federal structure and her elected government.

But her political opponents in the state were far from impressed.

“Mamata is trying to create a mountain out of a molehill without having proper knowledge of civil administration and armed force interface,” Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Md. Salim told IANS over phone.

“Instead of addressing the common man’s suffering after demonetisation, she is trying to hog the political limelight by creating controversies. It is unfortunate that the army is being used to gain political mileage,” he said.

State Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said the deputation of army has got nothing to do with Trinamool’s anti-demonetisation push.

“We have complete faith and respect towards the Indian Army. The army deployment has got nothing to do with demonetisation or threatening the state. I refuse to believe in the Chief Minister’s conspiracy theories,” Chowdhury told IANS.

The BJP, on the other hand, went a step further, accusing Banerjee of being completely oblivious to the administrative developments in the state.

“Mamata has understood that her anti-demonetisation drive has failed and people are whole-heartedly supporting (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji’s fight against black money. Now she is trying to divert people’s attention by highlighting a non issue,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha told IANS.

Sinha said the army wrote letters to not just the city administration but even to the district magistrates in West Bengal informing them about the routine exercise.

“May be she is not aware of local developments as she is blindly running for the limelight in national politics. I think she should resign as the Chief Minister as these communication gaps can be dangerous for the state,” he said.