- The state’s top bureaucrat was to report to Delhi today
- Recall order came hours after Mamata Banerjee skipped PM’s meet
- In her letter, Ms Banerjee termed the order “legally untenable”
New Delhi/ Kolkata:
Mamata Banerjee today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that she was “shocked and stunned” by the “unilateral order” asking Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to report to the Centre.
“The government of Bengal cannot release, and is not releasing, its Chief Secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid,” the Chief Minister wrote in a long letter.
Mr Bandyopadhyay was to report to Delhi at 10 am but the Chief Minister made it clear in the letter that he will stay and continue to manage her state’s Covid crisis.
The Chief Secretary was ordered to move to the Centre after a row over Mamata Banerjee not attending a meeting with PM Modi on Friday.
His recall order came hours after Mamata Banerjee skipped a Cyclone Yaas review meeting with PM Modi, preferring to meet him briefly at the Kalaikunda air base in Bengal after his helicopter landed before leaving for another meeting.
The order is “legally untenable, historically unprecedented and wholly unconstitutional,” Ms Banerjee said, referring to a recent central order that had extended Mr Bandyopadhya’s term in Bengal by three months on account of the Covid surge in the state.
“Does it have anything to do with our meeting at Kalaikunda,” she asked point-blank, adding that she “sincerely hoped” that was not the case as it would be “sad, unfortunate and would amount to sacrificing public interest at the altar of misplaced priorities.”