Kolkata, Dec 2: As Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee refused to leave Nabanna, the Bengal State Secretariat in a high security zone, till wee hours of Friday, heavy army presence was reported from across the state.
The Chief Minister decided not to go home and instead stay put at the state secretariat to protest against the "sudden deployment" of the army near Nabanna.
"I won't leave unless the army is withdrawn from near the secretariat. I'll keep vigil to protect democracy, to protect my democratically elected government," Banerjee told reporters.
In fact, the Chief Minister hurriedly convened a late night media meet on Thursday at the secretariat building.
According to ANI, military police were conducting checks in Siliguri, West Bengal, on Friday morning.
Military police conducting checks in Siliguri (West Bengal) pic.twitter.com/Ot1tRLfP3N— ANI (@ANI_news) December 2, 2016
"The WB CM has been in the secretariat building overnight. Till midnight I got reports that in over a dozen districts army personnel were being deployed," Derek O'Brien of All India Trinamool Congress, the ruling party, told ANI.
We have full respect for the army, but we are told that the data they are looking for is already available: Derek O'Brien (TMC) pic.twitter.com/1nwtVCBX8g— ANI (@ANI_news) December 2, 2016
"Are they authorised to collect funds from toll plazas? Eastern command said this is being coordinated, police knows...this is untrue," added O'Brien.
The Defence Ministry rubbished all the allegations. A Defence Ministry spokesperson said the army was conducting routine exercise with full knowledge of and co-ordination with West Bengal police.
"The army conducts the annual exercise throughout the country with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency," he added.