West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, engaged in an intense battle with the central government over administrative issues, has found support from her Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel. The Congress leader has “condemned” what he viewed as the “Centre’s interference” in the state’s affairs.
In a tweet posted on Friday, Mr Baghel said “federalism was stake again”. He quoted Ms Banerjee’s tweet in which she sought to call out the “blatant misuse” of Indian Police Service emergency provisions by the central government.
Federalism is at stake yet again. The BJP govt at centre has enchroached the state’s area of administration and transfered officers. And that too before elections.
Centre’s interference is highly objectionable and condemnable. https://t.co/GdXxMjp5SK
— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) December 18, 2020
The Union government, on December 17, asked three Indian Police Service officers from West Bengal to report for central deputation with immediate effect, overriding the state’s objections that they could not be spared.
Ms Banerjee then tweeted: “The government’s order of central deputation for the three serving IPS officers of West Bengal despite the state’s objection is a colourable exercise of power and blatant misuse of emergency provision of IPS Cadre Rule 1954.”
The three IPS officers were summoned by the Centre a day after an attack on BJP President JP Nadda’s convoy near Kolkata last week.
The BJP has channelled considerable time and resources towards West Bengal in the past many months, keeping mind the upcoming state Assembly election. The party is keen on securing at least 200 seats in the 290-member West Bengal House. The ruling Trinamool, on its part, has aggressively countered the BJP’s moves, making the state polls a high-stakes game.