In a dramatic turn of events, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday appointed Alapan Bandyopadhyay as her Chief Advisor. Bandyopadhyay, who was serving as West Bengal Chief Secretary, will take on the new role from June 1 for a period of three years. This comes after the Centre issued a show-cause notice to Bandyopadhyay after he failed to report to the department of personnel, public grievances and pensions (DoPT) in New Delhi today (Monday).
"Since Alapan Banerjee has retired today on May 31 from his service, he is not going to join in Delhi," said Mamata. "I will not allow Alapan Banerjee to leave Nabanna. He is now the Chief Adviser to Chief Minister," she added.
Meanwhile, HK Dwivedi has been appointed as the new West Bengal Chief Secretary, while BP Gopalika has been named as the new Home Secretary, said Banerjee.
Earlier in the day, Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to withdraw the Centre's order recalling Alapan Bandyopadhyay, and said her government "is not releasing" the top bureaucrat. In a five-page letter, Banerjee urged the PM to reconsider the Centre's decision to recall the CS after giving him a three-month extension.
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Banerjee said she was shocked by the Centre's decision and termed the order as "unilateral", which was issued "without any prior consultation" with the state government. "This so-called unilateral order is an unreasoned volte face and by your own admission, against the interests of the state and its people. I humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in larger public interest. I appeal to your conscience and good sense, on the behalf of the people of West Bengal," Banerjee said in her letter to PM Modi.
This came after the Centre, in a surprise move, had on May 28 night sought Bandyopadhyay's services and asked the state government to immediately release the top bureaucrat.
Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of West Bengal cadre, was scheduled to retire on Monday after completion of 60 years of age. However, he was granted a three-month extension following a nod from the Centre to work on COVID management.
The order came on a day when PM Modi visited Odisha and West Bengal to review the situation and damages caused by Cyclone Yaas.
Banerjee had a brief meeting with the prime minister at the Kalaikunda airbase where she handed over a memorandum on the post-cyclone situation. However, she was 30 minutes late to the review meeting. In her defence, the Chief Minister said she was not made aware of the meeting in time. The BJP leaders later accused her of cutting short the planned review meeting.