Urging political parties to refrain from dragging army into politics, senior congress leader Sachin Pilot asked both the TMC government in West Bengal and the BJP government at the Centre not to indulge in petty politics over functioning of the armed forces.
"Army should not be dragged into politics. Army fights for the nation, sacrifices their life for the safety and security of our country," Pilot told reporters in Kolkata.
"If the army was doing the checking without informing the state, then defence minister should make a statement and if the army has done the checking after informing the state, then the state government should come out clean on why they are making such statements. I would request both TMC and BJP not to drag army into politics," Pilot, a former Union minister, said.
The row over Army taking over road toll plazas in West Bengal today echoed in Parliament with TMC seeing "sinister" designs behind the move and the government vehemently denying the charge, saying it was a routine exercise conducted in full knowledge of the local authorities.
The issue was raised in both Houses of Parliament with main opposition Congress too seeking clarification on the army deployment at 19 toll plazas in West Bengal.
In Lok Sabha, defence minister Manohar Parrikar termed it a "routine exercise not unique to West Bengal" and saying that similar operations to collect information on heavy vehicle movement that can be used during national emergencies was conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat on Friday protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several places of the state and asked whether it was an "army coup".