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Election Watch: In Bengal, Cyclone Fani is still caught in a political storm. Here’s how

PW Bureau

Fani continued to be a talking point on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee traded barbs with each other

New Delhi: Cyclone Fani could well have mellowed as it made its way to West Bengal, but a political storm brewing in the state is making sure that the name does not get deleted from the political parlance. Fani continued to be a talking point on Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee traded barbs with each other.

While Modi accused Banerjee of doing “cheap politics” over the cyclone and said that she did not speak to him, Banerjee claimed that she could not talk to him because she was busy monitoring the situation on the ground.

‘Didi scuttled Centre’s efforts to take stock of situation’

Modi alleged that when he tried to speak to state government officials to take stock of the situation, his efforts were “scuttled” by Banerjee.

“Today, I am back from Odisha after reviewing the situation in the aftermath of the cyclone. I had called ‘Didi’ twice to discuss the issue with her. I waited for her to call back, but she did not respond… She is so arrogant that she did not speak to me. ‘Speedbreaker’ Didi is more interested in doing cheap politics instead of tackling the situation,” Modi told people at election rallies in Tamluk and Jhargram.

“Are we his servants that we have to go wherever he beckons? Now he will allege that I have not responded and not extended cooperation. My (poll) meeting at Jhargram today was already fixed.” Mamata Banerjee

Modi said even on Monday when he wanted to speak to Banerjee and state officials to know about the situation, the chief minister did not allow that to happen.

What Didi said?

While responding to the allegations levelled by Modi, Banerjee said that she could not talk to him because she was in Kharagpur, monitoring the situation as the cyclone advanced towards West Bengal.

“I waited for her to call back, but she did not respond… She is so arrogant that she did not speak to me. ‘Speedbreaker’ Didi is more interested in doing cheap politics instead of tackling the situation.” Narendra Modi

Didi, who was also addressing an election rally in Gopiballavpur sub-division of Jhargram, said that Modi had indeed called her for a meeting at Kalaikunda, where he had landed for an election meeting after touring Odisha.

“Are we his servants that we have to go wherever he beckons? Now he will allege that I have not responded and not extended cooperation. My (poll) meeting at Jhargram today was already fixed. Election is on in West Bengal, while it is over in Odisha. Why should I share dais with an expiry prime minister during election time?” Banerjee retorted.

Cyclone Fani was the worst cyclone to have hit India in the last two decades and left a trail of death and destruction in Odisha.