In West Bengal, CM vs Governor row escalates

None backs out of the fight

In West Bengal, CM vs Governor row escalates
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s choppy relations with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took a turn for the worse after the two exchanged a series of letters, trading charges and taking a dig on administrative issues, including the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Banerjee, on Thursday evening, fired the first salvo with a four-page letter pointing out limitations and duties of the “nominated head of the state” and how she is the “elected head” of the State.
Banerjee wrote that his “expostulation” forced her to release these letters in the public domain for people to judge who has “fragrantly transgressed constitutional dharma” and “basic norms of decency”.

The first reference made by the CM in her letter is an SMS where the Governor had expressed dismay at Banerjee’s disregard on points he had raised about problem areas of the State.
So far, the Chief Minister, had refrained from directly attacking the Governor or the Raj Bhavan. It was up to her Cabinet colleagues and “designated party leaders”.
Dhankhar on his part has been critical of Banerjee’s functioning as the head of the state, her repeated skirmishes with the Centre and recently has been unhappy of her handling the Covid-19 pandemic and related administrative issues.

Governor’s two letters

The Governor countered with two letters to the Chief Minister on Thursday and Friday.
Quoting constitutional provisions, relevant articles and rules of business, Dhankhar has listed-out the chief minister’s duty towards the Governor; accused the Chief Minister of “lapses” and said the State government’s response to his communications were outrageous.
“There has been total failure at your end all through….The enormity of the situation and lapses at your end are that in spite of repeated communications for compliance you have “black holed” all my communications resulting in virtual negation of Articles 166 and 167 of the Constitution,” wrote the Governor adding that the “outrageous, flagrant disrespect of Constitutional prescriptions” and “the pathetic approach” by the Chief Minister, it has still not deterred the Governor “to work in togetherness”.
The Governor maintained that he never had “any benefit of any advice or input” from either the Chief Minster or her cabinet colleagues. In fact, Governor has referred to Banerjee’s cabinet colleagus as “loose cannons” who have used “demeaning language” and the Chief Minister’s silence in pulling them up is to construed as “approval”.
The second letter is a 37-point rebuttal of various accusations made by the Chief Minister. The Governor has time-and-again raised questions about Mamata Banerjee administration and its attempts to “cover up” issues related to Covid-19.
The Governor has also raised questions as to why the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) was not allowed free movement.
“As a escape route, you thought of being in your favourite pastime of being in accusatory mode and take to the streets. Let me indicate that in times of such gigantic crisis, (a) street fighter approach is counter-productive and has the potential to spell disaster for the people,” the Governor wrote.

Hitting the streets

On many days during this lockdown period, the West Bengal Chief Minister, has hit the streets for a variety of reasons.
She had even gone to the market to draw “circles” on the streets to mark out social distancing norms. She had even gone to hospitals to hand over sanitisers and face masks to hospitals. Over the last three days she had again been hitting the streets, in an SUV, going to localities and urging people to stay indoors.
“She is interacting with people on ground,” said a senior Trinamool Congress.
Opposition leaders maintain the Chief Minister should not be out on the streets at a time when there is a pandemic. This, “hitting the streets” is nothing but a political ploy with no actual administrative outcome. In fact, it is being done to “divert” attention from administrative failures.
“Uttar Pradesh has 21 crore people. But, you do not see its Chief Minister running around on the streets. But, here, the Chief Minister is doing the job of the police. Why? It is nothing but political posturing. She is just playing politics,” Dilip Ghosh, MP and President, BJP’s Bengal unit charged.

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s choppy relations with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar took a turn for the worse after the two exchanged a series of letters, trading charges and taking a dig on administrative issues, including the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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