West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday appeared to take the tussle with the Centre a step further as she refused to send the state's chief secretary and police chief to New Delhi.
Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and DGP Virendra were asked by the Union Home Ministry to attend a meeting called in the national capital in the wake of the mob attack on BJP president JP Nadda's convoy.
Bandopadhyay wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, saying he has been directed to request to "dispense with the presence of the state officials" in the meeting convened on December 14.
"Kindly refer to the letter whereby the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Government of West Bengal have been requested to attend a meeting on December 14, 2020, at 12.15 PM in your chamber to discuss the law and order situation in the State of West Bengal including the incidents regarding certain Z-category protectees," Bandopadhyay wrote in his letter.
Earlier in the day, state Governor Jagdeep Dhankar came down heavily on the Trinamool Congress government over the attack. "The events that happened yesterday are most unfortunate. They are a slur on our democratic fabric," he told a press conference at Raj Bhawan.
"The governor is not a post office...he will not fidddle around in Raj Bhawan when human rights are being violated," he said, and asserted "the governor will vindicate his oath, come what may." It is the duty of the governor to protect the Constitution, he said.
Nadda's convoy was pelted with stones and bricks while he was on his way to Diamond Harbour on Thursday. Several vehicles, including those of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and party's Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh. Vijayvargiya and a few other BJP workers suffered injuries in the incident which triggered a war of words between the saffron party and Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.