New Delhi :
Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has responded to the Trinamool Congress’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he didn’t speak to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inquire about the ground situation after Cyclone Fani battered the state on Saturday. The TMC has accused the prime minister of disrespecting the federal structure of the country by calling state Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, instead of the chief minister to take stock of the situation after the cyclone.
"Attention has been drawn to reports in a section of media, that TMC has expressed its displeasure at PM Modi speaking only to WB Governor, about the post-Fani situation in the state. TMC have claimed that the PM had called Odisha and not WB CM. The claim is incorrect," ANI news agency quoted PMO sources as saying.
The PMO sources, according to the agency, said that the prime minister’s staff made two attempts to connect with the West Bengal chief minister, but she didn’t take the calls.
"Two attempts were made on Saturday morning, from the PM's staff, to connect PM to the WB CM on phone. The first time, they were told that the CM is on tour and call will be returned. On the second occasion too, it was told by the CM's office, that the call will be returned," the PMO sources said.
As the Cyclone Fani moved towards West Bengal after making landfall in Odisha, PM Modi on Saturday said that he spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal Governor to take stock of the situation. However, the fact that Modi didn’t speak to Mamata Banerjee, instead called up the state governor didn’t go down well with the TMC.
"This is the biggest example of indecency. In a federal structural a state government has its own position and rights. The Modi government never respected that," TMC secretary general and minister Partha Chatterjee had said, accusing the prime minister of bypassing the state government.
At least 16 people were killed in Odisha due to the Cyclone Fani, that made landfall in Puri on Friday. The extremely severe cyclonic storm, classified by meteorologists as powerful as a category 5 hurricane, unleashed heavy rains in the coastal parts of the state with winds up to 240 kmph.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has claimed that there was no much damage in West Bengal due to Cyclone Fani, which made landfall in Odisha's Puri and moved towards the state. After making landfall, the Cyclone weakened gradually on Saturday morning and was headed twards Bangladesh.
"The entire administration was awake the whole night. We were very worried about the cyclone,” Banerjee said. She had cancelled her election programmes and stayed put at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district to monitor the situation.