BJP’s West Bengal unit told to stay mum on chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay’s transfer


Express News Service

KOLKATA: The BJP’s central leadership has asked leaders of the party’s West Bengal unit not to make comments on the transfer of the state chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay to New Delhi.

Sources said that the aim is to keep the party’s Bengal unit out of the controversy that has erupted over the transfer of the state’s top bureaucrat, which was announced hours after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped a cyclone review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. 

The ruling Trinamool Congress has claimed that Bandopadhyay’s transfer is yet another example of the BJP practising vendetta politics after its dismal performance in the state Assembly elections. “Our national leadership has asked us to desist from making any comments related to the chief secretary’s transfer. It seems, the party wants to make it clear that it was the Union government’s decision, and that the state BJP had no role to play,” a senior BJP functionary said in Kolkata.

Reacting to Bandopadhyay’s transfer, Mamata said the BJP has not been able to digest its poor results in the recently-held Assembly elections.

She also charged that the Centre is trying to cause harm to the state by transferring an officer who was overseeing relief operations in areas affected by Cyclone Yaas as well as the state’s fight against COVID-19.

Both the CPM and Congress also echoed Mamata and described the Centre’s transfer order to Bandopadhyay, issued without consulting the state government, as revenge for the TMC defeating the BJP in the state.

Sources in the state secretariat said Bandopadhyay is not likely to report in Delhi on Monday. “He will attend a meeting headed by the chief minister over the issue of the post-cyclone situation and relief operations,” said an official of the state government.

The state government is yet to give a clearance to report to Delhi over Banopadhyay’s transfer. Nor has the Centre responded to the state government’s request to withdraw his transfer letter. Notable, the West Bengal government had sought a three-month tenure extension for Bandyopadhyay, who was scheduled to retire on May 31. The Centre had approved it.

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