Army presence at toll plazas in Bengal kicks up a storm
While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her MLAs and ministers staged a dharna, the Army rebutted her allegations and said the exercise was being carried out with Kolkata Police
Army jawans check vehicles at the toll plaza at Nabanna at Kolkata, and (right) Trinamool Congress MLAs demonstrate against this in front of Raj Bhavan. Pics/PTI
Kolkata: As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stayed put overnight at the state secretariat over army’s presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, her TMC MLAs and ministers staged a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan protesting the “dictatorial tendencies” of the central government
More than 150 MLAs and ministers marched to the Raj Bhavan from state assembly to submit to Governor K N Tripathi a memorandum against the “ill motives of the central Government” and demanding immediate withdrawal of the army personnel.
After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal ‘without informing the state government’, Banerjee had stayed put at the state secretariatovernight.
Army on its part strongly rebutted Banerjee’s allegations and said the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.
Reacting to the Chief Minister’s allegations GOC Bengal area (officiating) Maj Gen Sunil Yadav said, “We deny all charges with all contempt.”
“Allegations of collection of money by Army personnel are also totally baseless,” Yadav said. The Army also released letters written to the state government on the exercise.Govt speaks
Earlier in the day, when asked about this, Tripathi said, “I have read about it newspapers. Army has already given a clarification. I have nothing more to say.”
Criticising Banerjee for projecting the Army’s “annual exercise" in a wrong way, the Centre yesteday said such diversionary tactics and stalling of Parliament proceedings have left people "dissatisfied".
The row over Army taking over road toll plazas in West Bengal 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 with full knowledge of the local authorities.
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