Guv rues 'deathly silence' on Assembly visit, Mamata hit backtext_fields
Kolkata: The conflict between Raj Bhavan and West Bengal's Trinamool Congress government seems headed for a flashpoint, with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday hardening their respective stands.
Angered over a "deathly silence" greeting him during a pre-announced visit to the state Assembly where he could not enter through the gate earmarked for him as it was locked, Dhankhar described the chain of events as "threat to democracy" and a "shame".
Within hours, Banerjee signalled an all out war against Dhankhar, as she accused him of running a parallel administration and withholding permission before even introduction of bills in the assembly.
Dhankhar, who drove to the Assembly in the morning, stood for quite some time outside the locked gate number three, which is used for the entry of the Governor and other VVIPs.
He interacted with the media there, before taking a separate gate to go inside the premises.
"The gate meant for the Governor as also other VVIPs was closed. I felt bad. But I went inside through a gate that was open. I found inside a deathly silence," said the Governor after coming out.
His visit followed the unprecedented decision of Speaker Biman Banerjee on Tuesday to adjourn the House for two days, saying Bills scheduled to be placed before the members were yet to get the green signal from Dhankhar.
In a hard-hitting response soon after the Speaker's announcement, the Raj Bhavan denied any delay and said the bills were pending on account of "lack of input or response" from the respective departments.
The Governor had then intimated to the Speaker that he would be visiting the Assembly on Thursday. However, neither the Speaker, nor the Assembly Secretary or Special Secretary or any other senior functionaries were present to welcome the Governor.
"This is a very, very painful moment. My heart today is bleeding. How can this ever happen in a temple of democracy?
"Not a single soul of the assembly came to direct me or brief me, much less offer anything. This is a threat day for democracy. I have never seen anything of this kind anywhere in democratic functioning," Dhankhar said in a strong response.
Quoting a famous dialogue from the iconic Bollywood blockbuster Sholay, he said "I remembered 'Yahan itna sannata kyun hai bhai (Why is there so much silence, brother)?"
Dhankar said the happenings have "humiliated" democracy and the "people of the state", but asserted he would not be cowed down in upholding the spirit of the Indian Constitution.
On whether he was planning an outreach to the Chief Minister to clear out the discord between them, Dhankhar said: "I have done everything under the sun by writing letters, making telephone calls to the highest political executive that we must not engage in such kind of unseemly spectacle."
Ianugurating "Infocom 2019", Banerjee said her government was ready to "fight the battle".
"There is a parallel government administration in Bengal too. You have seen Maharashtra. If you see my state, you will see what is going on is 100 per cent more than Maharashtra.
"I am sorry to say my House is adjourned, because the bills are not being signed. It is not the final bill, just introduction of the bill," she said at the function.
"These bills were not being discussed even. Just we need permission to introduce a bill in the House for discussion.
"So in that, also we are facing a problem. We don't mind, we will fight it out. Let us fight the battle," she said.