‘End lockdown with Raj Bhavan’: Bengal governor Dhankhar to CM Mamata
The latest remark comes following a series of social media posts over the past few days criticising the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state over alleged lapses in enforcing the lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).Updated: Apr 13, 2020, 16:21 IST
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday took a dig at chief minister Mamata Banerjee and urged her to “end lockdown with Raj Bhavan”. Dhankar’s latest remark comes in the back of a series of social media posts over the past few days criticising the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state over alleged lapses in enforcing the lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“Urge @MamataOfficial to end Lockdown with Raj Bhawan. We are in combat mode #CoronaPandemic and must act in togetherness in state interest. MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) warnings must lead to a correctional approach. Officials will be held accountable for lapses #SocialDistancing and religious congregations,” Dhankhar tweeted on Monday.
On April 8, the governor had met state chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, who apprised him of Bengal’s Covid-19 preparedness, at the Raj Bhavan. Dhankar appeared pleased with the meeting, as he tweeted later that he “had the benefit of an exhaustive briefing for over two and a half hours” and that they “traversed various facets of proactive steps taken by the state government.”
However, his subsequent tweets criticised the state government, especially over the MHA’s letter dated April 10 to Sinha that alleged “gradual dilution of the lockdown” in Bengal. The MHA took exception to a growing list of exemptions extended by the state government, including businesses related to sweets, beetle leaves, and flowers.
On April 11, Dhankhar shared a copy of the letter and tweeted: “Time to attend to MHA critical aspects on an urgent basis so that our fight #Coronavirus is not frustrated. Time to give 100%. Worrisome issues of dilution of the lockdown, lapses in observance of #Social_Distancing and religious congregations need to be sternly dealt in the public interest.”
Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo, and nominated Member of Parliament and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Swapan Dasgupta also shared the letter on social media to take potshots at the Bengal government over its alleged failure to effectively implement the lockdown restrictions.
Banerjee, however, said: “We’ll strictly enforce the lockdown, but at the same time shouldn’t lose sight of its human face.”
Dhankhar also criticised the state health department’s decision to show-cause six employees of a government-run rural hospital at Belpahari in Jhargram district on April 10. They have been pulled up for switching off lights and lighting lamps at 9 pm on April 5 in deference to PM Modi’s “9 pm 9-minute” call to combat the viral outbreak. There were 32 patients, including three pregnant women, undergoing treatment at the hospital when the lights were turned off, the district health authorities said.
Dhankar tweeted: “The notice by Chief Medical Officer Jhargram on 10/4 to Medical Officer Belpahari Rural Hospital BINPUR II for responding to Nation Call @PMOIndia for 9-minute blackout on April 05-lighting lamps is unfortunate. Wonder if this is our united effort in taking on Covid-19!”
The ruling TMC criticised the Governor for playing petty politics amid the nationwide healthcare emergency. “He occupies the position of a constitutional head of the state, but he behaves more like a BJP worker. He’s making his moves taking cues from his political masters in Delhi. This is unfortunate. Let him keep himself busy in trying to please his bosses, while our government is pulling out all the stops to save people suffering from the viral outbreak,” TMC spokesperson Snehasis Chakraborty said on Monday.