‘Behaviour of Bengal govt unconstitutional’




In a fresh face-off with the West Bengal government and the Raj Bhavan, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday accused it of “unconstitutional behaviour” with him and wondered whether some “sort of censorship” is in place in the state, as district officials have refused to meet him.

Dhankhar said that the district officials had told him that government permission is needed to attend meetings with him.

The officials, the Governor said, had told him that permission to attend the meeting with him is not available, as all senior government officials are presently in north Bengal, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is on an administrative tour.

The refusal by the district officials to attend a meeting called by the governor is “unconstitutional”, Dhankhar said.

He had last week expressed his wish to hold meetings with district magistrates, bureaucrats and elected representatives of North and South 24 Parganas districts, a tour of which he has begun from Tuesday.

The office of the Governor had on Monday evening received letters from the two district magistrates stating that the officials would not be able to attend his meetings, as they will be busy with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ongoing tour of north Bengal, Raj Bhavan sources said. However, the district magistrates had said that other arrangements for his tour will be made, the sources

The letters by the district magistrates said, “This is to kindly inform you that permission of the state government is required for the undersigned to request the invitees to attend the scheduled meeting.”

“I am astonished to receive the letters from the district officials in which they have expressed their inability to attend the meetings, that too four days after my intimation. I do not know whether some sort of censorship is in place in West Bengal,” the
Governor said over phone. “Despite this, I will continue my tour of the districts,” he added.

Later while speaking to reporters, Dhankhar wondered whether the state government goes on a holiday when the chief minister is on a district tour.

“Is it appropriate that whenever the Governor wants to meet someone there has to be censorship, an approval from the state government? I am not subordinate to the state government. I find it unconstitutional,” Dhankhar said.

Although a guard of honour was accorded to him at Dhamakhali in North 24 Parganas, but none of the senior government officials of the district attended his meeting. In South 24 parganas district too none of the senior government officials or public representatives attended his meeting.

The TMC leadership, however, declined to comment on the issue.

Reacting to the development, BJP national general secretary, Kailash Vijayvargia said the way the Governor is being “insulted” by the state government is “unprecedented” in the entire country.