Amid controversy over the deployment of Armed forces in West Bengal, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a letter to Mamata Banerjee said that he was “deeply pained” by the Chief Minister’s allegations.
The government had explained the army’s presence as part of a routine counting exercise in Bengal and other states, but Mamata Banerjee had alleged that her government was not consulted.
“If only you had enquired with the concerned agencies of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and the state agencies including the joint inspection of the sites carried out by them,” Parrikar wrote in his letter.
“Your allegations run the risk of adversely impacting the moral of the country’s armed forces and the same were not expected from a person of your standing and experience in public life.”
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On December 1, soldiers at a toll plaza near the Chief Minister’s headquarters “Nabanna” in Kolkata infuriated Banerjee and she refused to leave her office, demanding that the army be removed first. She accused the centre of “trying to bulldoze” her government.
“I am waiting here at the Secretariat and watching, to guard our democracy,” she tweeted. She finally left her office 30 hours later.
Parrikar, who had accused Banerjee of acting out of “political frustration”, said in his letter:
“Political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against each other but one needs to be extremely careful while referring to our armed forces.