Ahead of the rural polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asked block development officers (BDOs) to contact her directly in times of need.

She sought the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the BDOs and offered her own telephone number to them to facilitate direct contact with her.

She made this offer at the annual general meeting of the WBCS Officers Association, representing a cadre of the State level administrative officers. Officials at the meeting said the Chief Minister sought the fullest co-operation of the BDOs in her government’s bid to accelerate development in the districts.

Her move created a flutter in political circles though, as it was felt that this would disrupt the present system of going through proper channels to take up issues.

Central Committee member of the Communist Party of India Md Selim said that while the Left Front government took steps to decentralise power, Ms. Banerjee, in her “pursuit for power,” was moving in the reverse direction.

The Bharatiya Janata Party said that talking to the Chief Minister directly, bypassing the Sub-Divisional Officers and the District Magistrate, would lead to chaos in the administration.

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