Opposition criticises West Bengal Chief Secretary recall

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. File   | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar

Opposition parties on Saturday criticised the Centre’s move to recall the West Bengal Chief Secretary.

The Congress described it as “an attack on federalism” that would result in “anarchy”. Its general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the “abrupt, malicious and unilateral” recall of Bengal’s top bureaucrat was an “unpardonable attack on the Constitution that has shocked the nation’s conscience’.

In a statement, he said, “This is a lethal blow to the Constitution of India, as also Federalism. If the Union Government is permitted to recall the All India Service Officers i.e. IAS and IPS from the States for partisan political considerations and at its whims and fancies, the entire architecture of the rule of law and the Constitution will crumble”.

“If the head of bureaucracy in a State, the chief secretary, will be summarily removed by the union government, why would any IAS or IPS officer, whether a District Magistrate or a Secretary or a Police Officer listen to and follow the orders of the State Government or implement any policy or programme devised by the State? This would lead to complete and total anarchy in the country,” he stated.

He dragged in the issue of Justice Arindam Sinha, a sitting Judge of the Calcutta High Court, questioning the conduct of the High Court while handling the bail issue of Trinamool ministers and leaders who were booked in the Narada sting case.

“Pursuant to the ongoing open differences in the Calcutta High Court in hearing and listing of cases against TMC ministers, the obviously coloured and revengeful recall of the chief secretary by Modi Government has given an unmistakable impression that Union Government is trying to dislodge a just elected government,” Mr. Surjewala said.

The Congress called upon every jurist, constitutional expert, elected representative and every countryman to rise in condemning “this unpardonable attack on India's constitutional ethos and the federal structure”, he added.

Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh tweeted that “this move in the middle of a pandemic and the aftermath of a devastating cyclone, shows how they are still licking their Bengal wounds post-elections”.

CPI general secretary D Raja told The Hindu, “It shows how the Centre-State relations have become bitter, strained and weakened federalism”.

Rajya Sabha member and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Kumar Jha said the events of the past 24 hours troubled him as a citizen. “The concept of cooperative federalism, that the Prime Minister often keeps repeating, is showing its ugly face. After taking the extreme step of removing the CS over a non-issue, I believe the Centre can now even withdraw currency from West Bengal. The BJP should realise that these actions show them as a political party that doesn’t believe in democracy,” Mr. Jha told this reporter.

The Aam Admi Party, however, avoided taking a position. Queries sent to its Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh didn’t evince a response.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 12:12:20 AM |

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