The tussle between the West Bengal governor and the government was apparent on Thursday in the first state administrative review meeting of chief minister Mamata Banerjee this year.
Lashing out at the superintendent of police (SP), East Midnapore, the CM said, “Is the governor calling you and giving you instructions to not do this and not do that? If you are under political pressure, you tell me. Don’t need to take any other instructions. You work for the state government. I had to interfere to settle a dispute in Haldia. Why will I have to do that when you are there for the job?”
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has had a stormy relationship with the Mamata Banerjee government over many issues since assuming charge in the state. He recently accused the chief minister and the speaker of the assembly of violating constitutional norms by not providing him the information he had sought on multiple matters. Mamata this week blocked him on microblogging site Twitter.
East Midnapore is the district where Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari’s assembly seat Nandigram is after he defeated Mamata in last year’s state polls.
Observers said that after Suvendu switched from the Trinamool Congress to the BJP ahead of the elections, the area became politically sensitive. Some incidents of violence too have taken place. If there are problems that the BJP wants to highlight, Suvendu Adhikari, who is the leader of the opposition in the Bengal assembly, often approaches governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, they said.
Mamata had called in all district magistrates (DMs) and SPs, but Suvendu raised questions on this meeting itself as polls for 108 municipal bodies in Bengal will be held on February 27.
State Election Commission has issued Notification for the Municipality Elections. Model Code of Conduct has come into force now.
In such circumstance, how can CM hold Administrative meetings with SPs & DMs of the districts?
It’s evident that @CEOWestBengal is influenced by TMC.
— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) February 3, 2022
The TMC though has rejected this claim.
Why Mamata Banerjee raised such an issue in the administrative meeting is now the big question, observers said. Dhankhar himself tweeted a video of the incident.
Hon’ble CM to SP in full media glare.
“Did Governor call you? Did he instruct you? What to or what not to do? I know you will not admit that. But feel free to do your assigned work. You are working for state government, mind it. Do not get afraid of such things..” pic.twitter.com/2x2gP71GbP
— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) February 3, 2022
The matter may have come up, said insiders, because the governor, who is the Centre’s representative in the state, has been very vocal on certain administrative issues.