New Delhi, Dec 2: Clarifying the deployment of Army in West Bengal Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stated that army has been carrying out routine exercise for years  and in November 2015 it had taken place too. Parrikar said that concerned officials were intimated by Army this year too. Original dates were 28,29 & 30th December, but were later changed to 1st and 2nd Decemeber.

The Defence Minister further stated that he is saddened to see a controversy emanating by Army’s routine exercise.

“This is an annual exercise which is conducted by the Army. The representatives of the District Magistrate and the local police accompany the Army personnel. The current exercise was held after a meeting with representatives of the DM and local police officials at the HQ Bengal Area,” the Defence Ministry said.

On Friday, the Rajya Sabha session began with the deployment of Army in West Bengal, keeping aside demonetisation. The TMC leaders , BSP chief Mayawati and Congress questioned governments deployment move.

Thursday midnight, Army conducted a routine exercise in West Bengal in order to collect data from toll plazas.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed it as a ‘ military coup’  accused the Narendra Modi government of creating a situation worse than ‘Emergency’.

A defence spokesperson had said the Army’s presence was normal. It was there to conduct bi-annual exercise throughout the country. Army thus gathers  statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the force in case of a contingency.