Meet with PM Modi: Mamata Banerjee says delay due to PM’s security protocol

Amid criticism for keeping the prime minister and governor waiting at Kalaikunda airbase ahead of a review meeting on cyclone Yaas, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday clarified that her helicopter could not land for 30 minutes owing to the protocol followed for the PM’s security.

Banerjee said the chopper had to remain airborne over Kalaikunda for 10 minutes, and thus she reached late. She claimed “wrong information was being circulated by the PMO” and that she was insulted by the central leaders who “tarnished her government and her image”.

She also questioned if Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Opposition leaders in cyclone-battered Odisha and Gujarat during his visit to those states. “Why this different treatment for Bengal?” she said, adding that it was meant to be PM-CM meeting but she found several other BJP leaders present at the meeting. “They humiliated me by running the one-sided information…I am ready to touch your feet. Please stop this political vendetta,” she said.

Slamming the BJP-led central government for their revengeful attitude, Mamata said, “There is constant attempt to insult me. After I took oath, the governor (Jagdeep Dhankhar) spoke about law and order and central teams were sent. We did take necessary steps about political violence.” Mamata Banerjee said, “Yesterday night political leaders and central minister resorted to politically partisan statement and made unjust comments about me.”

The state government, she said, had no information about the PM’s visit “when we planned aerial survey and review meeting in Hingalganj, Sagar and Digha to gauge the amount of damage and impact of Cyclone Yaas…” “When we learnt about the PM’s visit, in order to show him due respect, I cut short the programme and reached Kalaikunda. It was my duty to meet the prime minister. When we reached late, we decided to meet everyone and entered the PM’s conference room,” Mamata said. “We had come from Sagar to Kalaikunda and then had scheduled meeting in Digha.” After handing over the report, Banerjee said she sought the PM’s permission thrice before leaving.

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