Mamata's cold shoulder to Modi?

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI file photo

In the midst of an acrimonious Lok Sabha campaign, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appeared to have given the cold shoulder to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was trying to inquire about the damages caused by cyclone Fani.

Modi tried reaching out to Banerjee at least twice on Saturday only to be told that the chief minister was on tour and would return the call. An attempt made to speak with Banerjee a little later also drew a similar response.

What irked the Prime Minister's Office was Trinamool Congress leaders' claims to a section of the media that Modi reached out only to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and not Banerjee.

Trinamool Congress leaders also hit out at Modi for speaking to West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and not Banerjee.

Top government officials sought to set the record straight and said that two attempts were made to reach Banerjee.

“The first time, the staff who were attempting to place the call were told that the West Bengal CM is on tour, and the call will be returned. On the second occasion too, the staff attempting to place the call were told by the CM's office that the call will be returned,” the officials said.

On Saturday, Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee had accused Modi of disrespecting the federal structure by reaching out to the Governor and not the chief minister to seek update on cyclone Fani.

Banerjee has emerged as a key detractor of Modi and has taken a lead role in galvanising Opposition forces against the BJP.

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