December 9, 2016 5:32:51 pm
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday took strong exception to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter in reference to a recent Army exercise carried out in the state. Expressing unhappiness over the language used by the defence minister, Mamata said she only spoke about the government’s policy and not the Army.
“I take strong exception to your wild assertion that my articulation of rights of State Government has impacted the morale of armed forces. Don’t think that it behoves a Union Government Minister to pass near-defamatory remarks on a CM of any State,” she wrote. She went on to allege that the Army was being used by the Centre for political gain. “They don’t know how to write to a chief minister. They are using the Army to achieve their political purpose,” she added.
WATCH VIDEO | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Writes To West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
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Parrikar earlier wrote to Mamata, expressing his pain over the Army being drawn into a controversy. “I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media,” he wrote. He stated that Mamata should have spoken to state agencies and inquired about the exercise. “You would have come to know the extensive correspondence between army and state agencies, including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” he said.
In his two-page letter, Parrikar said the allegations being levelled against the armed forces could affect their morale. “Your allegations in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces,” he added.
Last week, the Bengal Chief Minister refused to leave the state secretariat until Army personnel stationed at toll plazas were withdrawn. The high drama came to an end when she left her office after spending nearly 36 hours. She alleged that the Army carried out its annual exercise despite the state police denying permission. The Army rebutted her claims by releasing the correspondence exchanged between them and the concerned state authorities.
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