Kolkata: Facing a barrage of verbal counter-attacks from West Bengal ministers, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, accusing her of giving "sanction" to the "unpalatable" public outbursts which were "worrisome" for democracy.
"Ministers, one after the other have orchestrated unpalatable outbursts in public domain about the Governor. I doubtlessly take all these have sanction of the HCM (Hon'ble Chief Minister) and this is worrisome for me and others who believe in Democracy and Constitution," Dhankar said on Twitter, tagging the Chief Minister.
Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim and Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya have, over the past few days, given sharp rejoinders to the governor's various criticism of the state government.
Dripping sarcasm, Dhankhar suggested the state government set up a department to deal with him. "I think the Chief Minister should either react to my statements or else she should appoint a specific minister to react to my statements," he said.
The Governor advised Bhattacharya to spent more time in managing her department as people had lot of anxiety over its functioning.
"I'd like to tell my sister Chandrima, there are lot of problems in her department. There is lot of anxiety among people. She should give more time to her ministry."
Continuing to take sarcastic digs at the government, he said: "One after another batsman from their team is coming out against me. I am not a bowler. I am an umpire. And umpire is never on the field.
"Whatever discussion I have, that discussion should be with the Chief Minister. These people talk a lot. Bees will attack if you throw stones at a hive," he said.
Bhattacharya immediately hit back.
"Every day, he says one thing or the other to get into a confrontation. The Governor need not tell me how I will manage my department. The Chief Minister is there for that. We are not throwing stones at a hive. It is he who is doing just that. So bees are stinging him," she said.
Turning his attention to Hakim, the Governor complimented him for his work on Swachh Bharat, but took a swipe at him for the "poor road condition".
"He should also take morning walks. If he looks outside by unrolling the windows his car, his work will be there. Let us not believe in tokenism. Let us believe in genuine, authentic, solid work," he said.
Bhattacharya responded again, saying Dhankhar is not here to advise whether the mayor should roll up or roll down the windows of his car.
"He has developed a habit to attack everybody. He is not here to give advice on when somebody should roll up or unroll the windows of one's car. He had not seen Kolkata's condition in the past. Now it gets praise from even people coming from abroad," she added.
The verbal spat between the Governor and Bhattacharya is the latest in the continuing saga of frequent run-ins between Dhankhar and the state government. Ever since he set his foot in the state, Dhankhar has had a litany of complaints against the Chief Minister, her ministers as also the administration on a large number of issues including law and order, constitutional propriety and the state's education scenario.