West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday expressed dismay over state assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee’s complaint to his Lok Sabha counterpart against him for allegedly interfering too much into the state’s affairs.
Terming the Speaker’s allegations “unfortunate” and “distanced from reality”, Dhankhar in an official statement said, “Such stand, more so in the forum concerned, is not in consonance with the office you hold. Just ponder that not even once you have thought of deliberating the issue, if at all any, with me.”
On June 22, the Bengal assembly Speaker complained against Dhankhar to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla about his alleged excessive interference in state’s affairs, during the All India Speakers’ Conference.
Speaker Biman Banerjee also accused Dhankar of sitting on various important Bills and not releasing them on time.
Responding to the allegations, the Governor said, “I am more saddened than anguished at your (widely reported in public domain) stance in the recent conference of Speakers with the Lok Sabha Speaker, reflecting that as Governor I am trying to interfere in the functioning of WB Assembly.”
“Such optics damages the institution we need to nurture and of which I happen to be at the apex as per Article 168 of the constitution,” he said.
‘Need to Work Together in a Harmonious Manner’
The Governor further said, “You (pointing at Biman Banerjee) have indicated to media that the Governor is sitting on several Bills, which have been passed in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and sent to him for his assent, citing two specific pieces of legislation, viz, the Dunlop India (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Bill, 2016 and the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill 2019.”
“This aspect too is unfortunately bereft of any factual foundation. No Bill, save one, is pending consideration at my end, and therein too there is delay in response from the concerned,” he added.
On The Dunlop India (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Bill 2016, he further clarified, “The Bill, which was forwarded to the Governor of West Bengal on 2 March, 2016 was forwarded by my predecessor in terms of Article 201 of Constitution on 10 March, 2016 to the President of India who, after receiving appropriate feedback from the concerned Department and the Chief Secretary, government of West Bengal, on January 15, 2019 withheld his consent to the said Bill.”
“Accordingly, the Union Home Ministry informed the concerned Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction, government of West Bengal that the President has withheld his consent to the Bill determining matter in finality as per Article 201 of the Constitution,” he added.
Pointing at the West Bengal (Prevention of Lynching) Bill 2019, the Governor mentioned that the Home & Hill Affairs Department dealing with the matter informed that there were certain mistakes in section 7C of the Bill in respect of which the Law Department was asked to brief the Governor.
“However, the authenticated translation of the proceedings (from your perspective) took more than six months to reach the Governor from your office which were ultimately sent to the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Left parties for their response thereafter as also soliciting comments from your office and recommendation of the chief minister in the matter,” the Governor said.
Dhankar further added that he is “pained to observe that at each of these stages, responses from your end were not only delayed, but also evasive and non-specific in nature, which were antagonistic to my specific queries”.
“It is my firm conviction that we need to work together in a harmonious manner to uphold and justify the essence and spirit of the Constitutional responsibilities that we solemnly carry for ensuring the overall welfare of the people of the state. I also feel that we need to embark on our solemn task by making a fresh beginning with a new conviction and renewed commitment from both of us to serve the people of the state,” he added.