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'Fugitive of Law is Also Fugitive of Society': West Bengal Guv Dhankhar on Bimal Gurung's Reappearance

File photo of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

File photo of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.

The governor's tour of Darjeeling comes in the backdrop of Gurung announcing his party's exit from the NDA and pledging support to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the next year's assembly elections.

Taking a dig at GJM supremo Bimal Gurung who had recently made a dramatic public appearance in Kolkata after being on the run for three years following charges of murder and cases under the stringent UAPA, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday said a "fugitive of the law is also a fugitive of the society". There will be "problem in the society unless everyone is equal before the law", the governor said while addressing a press conference in Siliguri during his month-long tour of Darjeeling.

"A fugitive of the law is also a fugitive of the society," Dhankhar said while speaking on the reappearance of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader. The governor's tour of Darjeeling comes in the backdrop of Gurung announcing his party's exit from the NDA and pledging support to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the next year's assembly elections.

The purpose of his visit to north Bengal is to assess the "ground realities", Dhankhar said, adding that he has received reports about the prevailing situation in the area. The governor also accused the Darjeeling district administration of working on behalf of a political party, and asked the DM and the SP "not to play with fire".

"The administration of North Bengal is working on behalf of a political party. Reports have come to me. Law will take its own course," he said. Dhankhar said people of the state are "paying price for an avoidable confrontation" between the Centre and the Trinamool Congress dispensation here.

The Centre and the states are two wheels of development, and there has to be "cooperative federalism and united action" to help the people, he said. "The pandemic has exposed the state of the health infrastructure in West Bengal. It could have been good if the state had adopted the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the Centre…Unfortunately, people of the state are paying price for lack of far-sightedness and an avoidable confrontation," Dhankhar said.

Under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the Centre had deposited Rs 12,000 directly into the bank account of every farmer of the country, except West Bengal, the governor said. Dhankhar, who has been at odds with the government since assuming charge in West Bengal, said a total of Rs 92,000 crore has been distributed by the Centre under the programme but the farmers of the state have been deprived of such benefit.

"This is a result of wrong policy, inaction and confrontation with the Centre," the governor said, adding that he had taken up this matter with the state government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. "After 21 months (from the inception of the scheme), she has written a letter to the Centre asking it to send the money to the state government for distribution among the farmers. Why the state government wants to act as an intermediary. The money is going directly to the farmers. It is not a good culture," he said.

Dhankhar also criticised the government for "rising" crime against women in the state. "I have taken to Twitter to sensitise people against such crime," he added.


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