New Delhi [India], Dec. 9, : Responding to a letter written by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee regarding the his expression of pain about painting the army in poor light recently, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy urged the Centre not to politicise the issue.
"We have all the respect for the Indian Army as they are safeguarding the territory and integrity of our country.
It is better on the part of government not to politicise the army in political interest." "We have also submitted the details as to how, without the concurrence of the state government, the army was deployed on December 1.
What the defence minister has stated is rubbish," he said. Member of Parliament Derek O' Brien charged the Centre with playing politics on the issue. "Look who is playing politics. The letter has not even reached the chief minister of Bengal and it has already been leaked in the media in Delhi." Promising a befitting reply from his party, O' Brien said, "When the letter does reach Bengal, we will give him a befitting reply.
Mamata Di will give a strong reply to the defence minister, because, we have a strong case." Parrikar, in a letter written to Mamata Banerjee expressed his pain over dragging the army into politics and doubting its intentions.
Parrikar said had Mamata enquired about it with the state agencies, she would have come to know about the communication that took place between the army and the concerned authorities regarding the exercise carried out by them.
"I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media. If only you had enquired with the concerned agencies of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and the state agencies, including the joint inspection of the sites carried out by them," Parrikar said.
Hinting at the impact it would have on the morale of the armed forces, Parrikar said that such a thing was not expected from a person of her standing and experience in public life.
He further said that political parties may take digs at each other, but one needs to be careful while referring to armed forces.
On December 1, when the army was deployed at two toll plazas in West Bengal for carrying out a routine exercise, Mamata alleged that the deployment was made without any prior information to the state government.
The army, however, in a series of letters, clarified that it was only a routine exercise and that it was in continuous communication with the Kolkata Police.