Amid her tussle with the central government, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee borrowed an iconic dialogue from the 70s Bollywood blockbuster ‘Sholay’ to encourage opposition CMs in the country to raise their voice without fear against the Centre.
“Jo darte hain wo marte hain (death is certain for those who are afraid),” Banerjee said on Monday as she warned the Centre that it would one day “repent” its attempts to “bulldoze federalism”.
“We are not scared by their threats. Bengal has never learnt to lose. We will always walk with our head held high,” a media report quoted Banerjee as saying.
She alleged that the Centre was looking to “divert attention” after having failed in various aspects like managing COVID19 and the economic and agricultural distress.
Although the opposition CMs’ pleas may not be heeded by all the states, Banerjee urged them to come together and raise their voice against the Centre, which she terms as “autocratic”.
“There has always been a Lakshman Rekha between the Union government and states,” the West Bengal chief minister said.
“…they issued back-to-back letters, without any justification or reason. You could not give justice, and you are doing further injustice by targeting the bureaucracy… They cannot stop us from fighting,” she added.
Banerjee was referring to the controversy caused by the central deputation order on Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who retired as Bengal chief secretary on Monday and chose not to accept the deputation, and the three-month extension granted to him by the Centre just days ago.
On May 28, Alapan Bandopadhyay was recalled by the Centre on deputation reportedly for his absence in the cyclone review meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kalaikunda.
Reacting to the Centre’s order, Banerjee wrote a letter to PM Modi asserting that the state government would not release him.
“The unilateral ‘order’ comes without any prior consultation whatsoever with the government of West Bengal, without any volition/option of the officer, without meeting any of the pre-conditions of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954 and other applicable laws,” she wrote.