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Published On: Sat, May 2nd, 2020

‘Desist efforts to usurp power in Bengal’ Mamta Banerjee to Governor Dhankhar

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Mamata Banerjee Chief Minister of West Bengal and Shri Jagdep Dhankhar Governor of West Bengal during The swearing- In- Ceremony of Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar ,Governor of West Bengal at Governor House on 30 July, 2019 in Kolkata, India. (Photo by Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday (May 2) and accused him of trying to usurp powers amid the coronavirus crisis. The Chief Minister asked him to desist from using official communications and logos on social media.

“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,” Mamata said in her 13-page reply to Governor Dhankhar.

The scathing attack from Mamata came after the Bengal Governor shot off two letters to the Chief Minister accusing her of hiding details regarding coronavirus cases in the state, and simultaneously asking her to cooperate with the Inter-Ministerial Central Team, which has visited the state to assess the situation.
A 13-page, sarcasm-filled letter to Mr Jagdeep Dhankar; it also consists of some annexures but these have not been made public. His last letter to her was 14 pages long.
Referring to the Governor’s letter of April 23 and 24, Ms Banerjee said “… communications of such content, tenor and tone… are unprecedented in the annals of constitutional history” and accused Mr Dhankar of using language that “even with maximum restraint, can only be described as vituperative, intemperate, intimidating, abusive and insulting”.
“When I read your two letters, and many earlier ones as well, I felt more sad than angry. My second emotion was one of amusement,” Mamata Banerjee wrote, listing Mr Dhankar’s “choicest epithets”.

“I list my favourite ones, verbatim taken from you: … like loose cannons in public domain; driven by external script; theatrics and politicking, law unto oneself… bravado mode of collision… but respected Governor, preaching without practice and sermonising while violating, does not behove you or your office,” she added.

The Governor responded, tweeting “I find no substance in her version, both in fact and law”. He also indicated a fresh chapter would be written in this face-off, saying, “Reply will be sent as her letter has content to which I cannot subscribe as it eclipses essence of constitution”.
Mr Dhankar, however, also sought to play down the confrontation slightly given the coronavirus crisis, saying this was “no time to bicker” and calling on the Chief Minister to “focus on the grim situation and work in togetherness”.
Earlier this week Mr Dhankar, in the second of a two-letter retort, accused Ms Banerjee of trying to cover up “monumental failures”. He attacked the Chief Minister over what he called diversionary tactics and appeasement politics.Ms Banerjee responded with a five-page letter reminding the Governor she was elected head of state and he was only nominated – a point she underlined in her second letter.
The Chief Minister quoted from three Supreme Court judgments to underline Mr Dhankar’s status, pointing to a 2016 ruling in which the top court said “… not within the realm of the Governor to embroil himself in any political thicket. Governor must remain aloof from any disagreement, discord, disharmony… within individual political parties… Governor must keep clear of horse-trading”.

At the end of the pointed letter Ms Banerjee told Mr Dhankar, in no uncertain terms, that he had limited powers to bring about any change and urged him to act “politely”.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).




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