West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday, accusing him of trying to "usurp powers" amid the coronavirus crisis, and asked him to desist from using official communications and logos on social media.
Banerjee's rebuttal came after the governor shot off two letters to the chief minister last week amid the clash between the Raj Bhavan and Nabanna, the state secretariat, in the wake of West Bengal's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In his letters, Dhankhar had urged Banerjee to refrain from indulging in politics during the pandemic.
"Such words and such communications of such content, tenor and tone from a governor to an elected CM are unprecedented in the annals of Indian constitutional and political history. Your words against me and my ministers and officers can be described as vituperative, intemperate, intimidating and abusive," Banerjee said in her 14-page reply to Dhankhar.
Accusing him of preaching and sermonising constitutional norms "without practising it and violating it", she said the governor may not agree with her policies, but unfortunately, he has no other power than bringing it to her notice, as long as the government commands the confidence of the legislature.
"I beseech you to desist from intensifying your efforts to usurp powers, especially during the humongous crisis which the nation and West Bengal is grappling with. Please do not dream of a ‘Dyarchy’ in the state," the chief minister said.
She said the governor’s conduct reminds people of the 1770s when the colonially engineered scheme of Dyarchy idestroyed the political economy of Bengal.
While asking him to desist from using official communications and logos on social media, she said, “Words and communication used by you for an elected CM are
unprecedented in the annals of Indian constitutional and political history. These are not recent or first-time outbursts by you.”
Minutes later, Dhankhar responded to Banerjee’s letter through a series of tweets stating that there is no substance in her version, either in fact and law.
“I appreciate her stance ‘for full cooperation with state government’. Persistently I had been beseeching her to work in togetherness as we are faced virtually with roof falling situation. Hope she acts as such. No time to bicker. There are no sane takers for
this unseemly scenario. I have held enough close to my chest- looks like revealing is becoming unavoidable. Reply will be sent as her letter has content to which I cannot subscribe as it eclipses essence of constitution,” he wrote.