Cyclone Fani, which left a trail of devastation in Odisha and Bengal amid a mammoth seven-phase election, has become the latest political flashpoint, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accusing Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of playing politics over the issue.
PM Modi, who met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today and carried out an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit areas, said he had dialled Mamata Banerjee twice, but she had not spoken to him.
Officials in the PM's Office claimed Bengal was also asked about the possibility of a review meeting. But the state officials, they added, had declined, saying they were busy campaigning for the election.
"Speedbreaker didi has tried to play politics even on Cyclone Fani. I tried to talk to Mamata Didi before the cyclone hit, but such was her arrogance that she refused to talk to me," PM Modi said at a rally in Bengal's Tamluk.
In a Hindi tweet later, the Prime Minister said: "I waited, expecting her to call me back. But she did not. Still, I called her again. I was worried about the people of Bengal, and wanted to speak to Mamata Didi. But Didi did not speak to me the second time either."
Over the weekend, a controversy arose over the Prime Minister's alleged failure to call Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to get the update on the cyclone, which crossed the state over the weekend on its way to Bangladesh.
A section of media reported that the Chief Minister had expressed her displeasure that though PM Modi has spoken to Naveen Patnaik, he made no attempt to contact her and has spoken only to Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi.
Ms Banerjee has been among the sharpest critics of the Prime Minister and a section of the Trinamool Congress claimed that PM Modi was ignoring the needs of the state.
Officials in Prime Minister's Office said when they tried to call Ms Banerjee on behalf of the Prime Minister, state officials said she was out campaigning. Despite their assurance that she would return the call, it has not happened, the PMO officials said.
Ms Banerjee had cancelled all election-related programmes and spent the Friday and Saturday in Kharagpur near Kolkata to monitor the situation.