New Delhi: The West Bengal government has refused to hold a review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Cyclone Fani. Prime Minister Modi, who flew down to Bhubaneswar on Monday to visit the areas hit by Fani and take stock of the situation, wanted to do the same for West Bengal. The Centre had written to the Mamata Banerjee-led administration about a review meeting of the prime minister with the state government officials.
However, the West Bengal government replied that since the government officials are busy with election duty, hence the review meeting should not be held. "For the purpose of supervision of elections arrangement, the state chief secretary and the home secretary will have to be stationed in the headquarters from morning till the end of elections on 6.5.2019. Hence it will not be possible for the chief secretary, home secretary and other senior officers of West Bengal to be away from headquarters on 6.5.2019," the letter to the union home ministry from the West Bengal's department of disaster management and civil defence stated.
In Odisha, Prime Minister Modi was received by Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the airport. The Centre had earlier released £100 million to Odisha and other states, including West Bengal, to deal with the devastation caused by Cyclone Fani. The prime minister wanted to take stock of the situation in West Bengal as well,but the state government declined.
Government sources revealed that the PMO had made attempts to connect Prime Minister Modi to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee twice over telephone post the Cyclone Fani but failed. Reacting to reports in a section of media that TMC has expressed its displeasure over PM Modi speaking only to West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to inquire about the situation in the aftermath of the cyclone, the sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that the claim is incorrect.
According to TMC, the Prime Minister had talked to Governor Tripathi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik but "did not call up" Banerjee. The PMO sources said that two attempts were made by the PM's staff to connect the Prime Minister to Banerjee over the telephone. They said that on both occasions, PMO staff was told by Banerjee's office that the Chief Minister was on tour and the calls would be returned once she was back.