BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday reminded Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar he was a “nominated” functionary and had “humiliated” the elected representative with his unparliamentary attacks amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The Governor and the chief minister, who have not been on the best of terms since Dhankhar was appointed last year, have been locked in a tussle over the past few days. His latest attack was asking her to ensure the central government teams sent to monitor the COVID-19 lockdown in the state do not face any obstruction.
According to Mamata, the Governor also sent her an objectionable text message that had transgressed “constitutional dharma and even basic norms of decency”.
“You appear to have forgotten that I am an elected chief minister of a proud Indian state. You also seem to have forgotten that you are a nominated Governor,” she said in a five-page letter.
It came a day after Banerjee refused to comment on a series of tweets by the Governor that have been critical of the state government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. “He is a tall man. We are small people. The less said about him the better,” she said. “He is right feet tall, we are fight feet tall,” she added.
The chief minister was clearly displeased that the Governor has made adverse remarks about the ongoing controversy over the visit of two central teams to Bengal to examine COVID-19 lockdown violations and dilution. He has also commented on what has been described as a “ration scam” and the state’s alleged attempt to throttle attempts by BJP MPs to send relief material to remote places.
In one of his tweets, Governor Dhankar had said, “Appeal to Mamata Banerjee to be in tandem with Narendra Modi in the interest of the state.”
“Sent communication to Mamta Banerjee to abide by Constitution. Such continued disregard of Constitution cannot be countenanced. There can be no situation of law unto oneself. Her stance is weakening the fight against Covid-19. There is no rationale for such undemocratic attitude (sic),” he wrote.
The exchange comes over two central government teams sent to West Bengal who have alleged that they have been stonewalled by the state government. The Bengal administration has accused the Centre of stifling its COVID-19 response by sending faulty test kits.
Meanwhile, the Governor has tweeted that he has received the communication from the Bengal CM, which is “outrageously factually wrong and constitutionally infirm.”
A communication @MamataOfficial has been received.
Outrageously factually wrong and constitutionally infirm.
My initial response will be shared with media around 7.45 PM today.
And a final one tomorrow at 11 am.
People of the state need to know the real picture.
— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) April 23, 2020