From Indigo Airlines to Indian Army – Mamata Banerjee imagines conspiracies to remove her

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has gone all guns blazing against the Modi government and their demonetisation scheme, has now taken the fight to the next level – where she is blaming the Modi government of getting rid of her using tools like Indigo Airlines and Indian Army.

First her party claimed that there was a conspiracy to kill her after an IndiGo plane, which she was traveling in, hovered over the Kolkata airport due to traffic congestion, and now entire last night there was a drama where she virtually claimed that the Indian Army was planning a coup in her state.

It all started when the army deployed itself at the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza near her office, Mamata spooked and locked herself in her office refusing to leave until the army withdrew. The situation came into national limelight after Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to air her grievances against the Army.

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She again reiterated her demands, about an hour later.

Things escalated so much that the Army’s Eastern Command, headquartered at Kolkata, had to send out series of tweets stating that it was a routine exercise being carried out not just in West Bengal but in all North Eastern states, and that the whole exercise was being carried out after informing and coordinating with the West Bengal police.

However, Mamata Banerjee accused the Army of misleading people:

This was not only bizarre, but very dangerous situation where a state government was not willing to trust the Indian Army.

As it turns out, the Army was conducting exercises on toll areas to gather statistical data about load carriers that could be made available to the Army in case of a contingency. In an interview to TV channel ABP Ananda, toll manager of Plasit toll plaza about 90 Kms away from Kolkata, had claimed that the exercise had been taking place for the last 3 days at the orders of the NHAI. The interview was aired last night at around 10:00 PM.

Not just that, it turns out that this was a normal routine exercise by the Indian Army that had happened in previous years too at various places, but Mamata Banerjee made it a huge issue this year, claiming that it was an attack on democracy. And obviously, her party declared it signs of Emergency.

The same points were confirmed in a press conference carried out by the Eastern Command of the Indian Army today. Army reiterated that the exercise was an annual activity and was carried out during 19-21 November 2015 at the same locations. This year’s original dates were 27-28 November, but where changed to 30 Nov-2 Dec due to the Bharat Bandh call given by some opposition parties to protest against demonetisation.

Army also produced documents to prove that the State government and police were informed of the exercise and their objection about a particular location was answered:

So the West Bengal government and police were intimated and kept in loop about the routine exercise by the Army. If there indeed was some covert operation planned by the union government to overthrow the state government using the army – which is a ridiculous charge as the union government has the constitutional power to do the same under Article 356 – why would the army inform the state government in advance?

If there was some miscommunication between the state police and the army due to change in dates, is this the right way to express unhappiness over the miscommunication? Is it fair to claim an ‘attack on democracy’ and “Emergency” and dragging the Indian Army?

So it is not really clear what made Mamata Banerjee lose her patience with the Army, so much that she accused them of misleading the people and attacking democracy.

But for Mamata Didi, it seems normal to claim grand conspiracies where everyone is trying to eliminate her.

Two years back, when there was a short-circuit in her hotel room in Malda, she claimed it as a conspiracy to kill her. And who can forget the incident in 2012, when she declared college students as CPM cadre and Maoists because they were putting questions about law and order and safety of women:

Soon she took it up a notch when in an interview to the Washington Post, she claimed that Marxists and Maoists were planning to kill her in a plot financed by North Korea, Venezuela, Hungary and the ISI.

So her conspiracy theories are not new, only that the target has changed. Earlier it were the Maoists, CPM, North Korea, etc. and now it is Narendra Modi.


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