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Modi Says ‘Speedbreaker Didi’ Refused to Talk on Cyclone Fani; Not Your Servant, Replies Mamata

Mamata Banerjee said the Bengal government was only asked to attend the meeting after the PM landed in Kalaikunda. “As if we are servants,” she said.


Updated:May 6, 2019, 2:55 PM IST

Kolkata: The tussle between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee over Cyclone Fani continued on Monday with the Prime Minister accusing the West Bengal Chief Minister of ignoring his efforts to hold a review meeting for relief and rescue efforts. Returning the fire, Banerjee said Modi was doing drama in Bengal for social media publicity and the state does not want his sympathy.

Addressing an election rally in Tamluk, Modi said he had tried to speak to Mamata but “out of her arrogance, she did not speak to me”. “I hoped that she would call back but she did not call. I called her again as I was worried about West Bengal but she refused again,” Modi said.

Accusing “speedbreaker didi”, a name Modi has given Banerjee, of politicising the natural calamity, the PM said he was aware of the destruction that Cyclone Fani caused in Bengal and all agencies have been put on relief and rescue work. “This shows how much Mamata cares about you. This attitude of CM Mamata is what has put the brakes on West Bengal's development,” he said.

Banerjee responded that Modi asking for a meeting was all drama for publicity and sympathy, and asked why she should meet him if he is there to hold a political rally.

“How dare you call for a meeting with chief secretary and senior officials without the CM. Don’t do this drama in Bengal. Mr Expiry PM, you are not worthy of (being) PM. We don't want your sympathy,” she said.

Banerjee said the Bengal government was only asked to attend the meeting after the PM landed in Kalaikunda. “As if we are servants,” she said.

Earlier, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office had claimed the state government had rejected their request for a review meeting, saying officials were busy with election duty.

Sources said Modi, who took stock of the situation in Odisha due to the cyclone this morning, wanted to do the same for West Bengal and “the Union government had written to the state about a review meeting with state government officials on Monday”.

“However the state government has replied that the government officials are busy with election duty and hence the review meeting should not be held,” they added.

The Bengal government, however, denied having any intimation of the meeting. "The chief secretary of the state has no intimation, verbal or written, from the PMO on this proposed meeting over damage assessment of cyclone Fani. Hence, the question of refusing to attend the meet does not arise," sources in the CMO said.

On Sunday, PMO sources had denied that the Prime Minister did not call up Banerjee for updates on Fani, which barrelled through Odisha and caused widespread destruction. Sources said the PMO staff had twice tried to connect the Prime Minister to the West Bengal CM on phone, but on both occasions, she didn’t return the call.

“The first time, the staff who were attempting to place the call were told that the West Bengal CM is on tour, and the call will be returned. On the second occasion too, the staff attempting to place the call were told by the CM's office that the call will be returned,” officials told News18 on the condition of anonymity.

The Trinamool Congress had on Saturday hit out at PM Modi for calling West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi instead of talking to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inquire about the ground situation in the wake of cyclone Fani, and alleged Modi doesn't respect the federal structure of the country.

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