Allegations of ‘Army coup’ run risk of adversely impacting morale of armed forces: Manohar Parrikar to Mamata Banerjee


New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has written a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressing pain over her claim of “Army coup”

In his letter Parrikar writes: “Your allegations in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces.”

Banerjee had triggered a controversy after questioning presence of Army personnel at state toll plazas and asking was it an “Army coup”.

The drama unfolded last Thursday when the Trinamool Congress supremo alleged the Army has been deployed at the Dankuni and Palsit toll plazas on National Highway 2 (connecting Delhi and Kolkata) without informing the state government.

Denying Banerjee’s charges, the Defence Minister and the Eastern Command of the Army had claimed it was a routine annual data collection exercise carried out to assess the availability of load carriers at all the major entry points in various states.

Banerjee’s claim of “military coup” was exposed when the Army rejected the West Bengal Chief Minister’s allegations that its personnel were deployed at toll plazas without informing the state government and were collecting money.

“This is being done in coordination with local police authorities. The exercise was earlier planned for November 27 and 28. The dates were changed to November 30 to December 2 on a specific request by the Kolkata Police due to Bharat Bandh called on November 28,” said GOC Bengal area (officiating) Maj Gen Sunil Yadav.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Parrikar had said the Army was conducting a routine exercise in Kolkata. The Eastern Command showed papers detailing the correspondence between the Army and the local police on the issue and said the state government and the police knew about it in advance.