Mamata Banerjee, Jagdeep Dhankhar trade barbs on Constitution Day
The acrimony between ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar touched another high on Tuesday when the latter, while addressing the state assembly on the occasion of Constitution Day, said the post of the constitutional head of West Bengal has been “seriously compromised.”
“The post of the constitutional head of the state has been seriously compromised. This is an unprecedented and challenging situation. I would call upon lawmakers to ask their conscience,” Dhankhar said.
“In my state, misuse of the governor’s chair is happening like anything,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, while commenting on the role of the governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in the government formation in Maharashtra.
“The President is elected, the Prime Minister is elected and chief ministers are elected. But a particular nominated person cannot substitute an elected government,” Banerjee said without naming the governor.
In his first speech before the assembly, Dhankhar praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a “bold step” by nullifying Article 370 and referred to Syama Prasad Mukherjee’s dream of seeing Kashmir as a part of India.
After Dhankhar ended his speech with “Jai Hind” and started walking towards the exit door, legislators started shouting “Jai Bangla, Jai Hind.”
Banerjee has been raising the ‘Jai Bangla’ slogan at public meetings ever since she moved the Centre to rename the state ‘Bangla’.
Since Dhankhar referred to Kashmir, Mamata Banerjee said, “Why should Farukh Abdullah be detained for three months? We have a right to ask.”
Without naming Dhankhar, Banerjee said, “He seems to be more aware of Kashmir but has forgotten Bengal.”
Referring to Dhankhar’s repeated allegation that the state government was denying him the facility of using a helicopter, the chief minister said : “We use helicopters only in emergency and in public interest. Previous governors used it several times. There was no problem at all. This time, the helicopter was not available on the day he wanted it. The helicopter is operated on a public-private partnership (PPP) model is not full-time in service of the state government.”
Although they boycotted the programme inside the assembly, Left and Congress leaders received Dhankhar on his arrival at the assembly compound.
“It was decided that the discussion session in the House tomorrow (Wednesday) would continue for three hours. Today, we got to know that it has been arbitrarily changed to two hours. We have no interest in listening to a speech on the Constitution from a person who is breaking it every day,” said Sujan Chakraborty, leader of Left parties in the assembly.
Veteran Congress leader Abdul Manna, the leader of the Opposition, said, “I hold the rank of a Cabinet minister, but was allotted only seven minutes to speak, whereas Chandrima Bhattacharya, a junior minister, was allotted 20 minutes. This is nothing but a mockery of the House and therefore we decided to boycott the event.”
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