New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday said there may be a constitutional breakdown in West Bengal in the wake of the Kolkata Police-CBI face-off and asserted that the Centre has power to take action.
Amidst din in the Lok Sabha, he also termed as “unprecedented” the move to stop the probe agency from performing its duty.
An all-out war broke out between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government on Sunday over the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police commissioner in connection with chit fund scams.
Making a statement in Lok Sabha on the prevailing situation in Kolkata, Singh described the action against the CBI probe team, which went to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, as “unprecedented” and a threat to the federal political system of the country.
“There may be constitutional breakdown in West Bengal… under the Constitution, the central government has been vested with the power to maintain normalcy in any part of the country,” he said.
Earlier, opposition parties in Lok Sabha attacked the government over the alleged misuse of central agencies against political rivals, saying it was against democratic norms.
Members from Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal, NCP and Samajwadi Party spoke against the CBI move to question the Kolkata police chief.
A CPI-M member said both the Trinamool Congress and the Centre were at fault. As soon as the House took up Zero Hour, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan allowed members to raise the issue.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Monday accused the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal of not allowing its political programmes in the state and sought the Election Commission’s intervention so that the Lok Sabha polls can be held in a “free and fair” manner.
A high-level BJP delegation submitted a memorandum to the poll panel to highlight instances that show that the TMC “does not believe” in democracy, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was also a member of the group, told reporters.
“In the interest of wanting free and fair environment in which the Lok Sabha polls can be conducted, we have come to bring to the notice of EC certain happenings in West Bengal which has complete cooperation of TMC. Instances we highlighted point out that TMC doesn’t believe in democracy.
“The party which is ruling in the state and its supporters are out in the open to ensure that no other political party gets permission to carry out its legitimate activities ahead of the polls,” she said.
Besides Sitharaman, the other members of the delegation included Union ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and S S Ahluwalia, and BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya, Bhupender Yadav, Anil Baluni and Mukul Roy.
The TMC is rattled with the BJP’s growth in the state and that is why it is restricting the saffron party’s programmes and even not allowing some rallies, she claimed.
Sitharaman said the state officials are “in cahoots” with the ruling party to target the BJP by delaying permissions for events for which permissions were sought three to four days ago.
Attacking the state government, she said that even Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was denied permission to land in West Bengal to address two rallies on Sunday despite permission being sought from the district officials well in advance.
“Probably a freudian slip from his mouth (official) that there was pressure from above that I can’t give permission for this meeting,” she said.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the BJP has demanded that the poll panel thoroughly assess the “alarming situation” in West Bengal.
“We have also requested the poll panel to remove those state government officers who are acting as agents of the state government and sought deployment of central armed forces for smooth, free and fair conduct of the election in the state,” he said.