‘Mamata should restrain her ministers’: Bengal Governor; his tweets add to acrimony
The ongoing acrimony between West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the ruling Trinamool Congress reached a new low on Thursday, with the former warning the state’s junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya not to play with a bee hive and advising chief minister Mamata Banerjee to restrain her ministers.
Dhankhar’s statement came after Bhattacharya criticized him on Wednesday.
“I would like to tell my sister Chandrima that she should concentrate on her department. You all know the condition of her department. The chief minister is capable of tackling the governor. Instead of giving lectures and playing with a bee-hive she (Bhattacharya) should look after her department,” said Dhankhar, early on Thursday morning.
The governor had gone to Victoria Memorial and Rabindra Sarobar Lake for a morning walk when he interacted with reporters.
“After the Ayodhya verdict, the chief minister had ordered that none of her ministers should issue any statement. Did anyone speak? She has complete control over her ministers. She should also show same control when it comes to issuing statements against the governor,” he added.
On Wednesday, Dhankhar was shown black flags and asked to go back by Trinamool Congress activists during his visit to Murshidabad district. Later in the day, Dhankhar said in a tweet that policemen protected the demonstrators.
Soon after this, the minister of state for health said, “The police were there to ensure the governor’s security. He, unfortunately, has got into a habit of criticizing the government on baseless issues. He has failed to maintain the sanctity of his chair.”
This was, however, not the first time that Bhattacharya had taken a jibe at Dhankhar. She had earlier accused him of crossing the ‘Lakshman Rekha’.
Dhankhar on Thursday launched a scathing attack against some of the trusted lieutenants of Mamata Banerjee, including Bhattacharya and Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim.
“This is not a cricket team that 11 players will have to play. I and the chief minister are capable of handling each other. But even after that, if they want to do it for public consumption, then a new department should be created and a minister should be given its charge, who can give statements against the governor. So that other ministers can perform their duties,” Dhankhar said.
“The governor should not worry and affect his health over how I should run my department. The chief minister is there to guide me. And I am not playing with a beehive. The governor is poking the beehive and that is why bees are coming out to sting him,” said Bhattacharya.
“Whatever he has seen in other states is influencing his thoughts. We work on the streets and the results are quite visible,” said Hakim.
Dhankhar, during his morning walk at Rabindra Sarobar Lake in south Kolkata, also played football with local youth. He and his wife then visited the Lake Kali Bari (a popular Kali temple) to offer prayers.
In his first tweet on Thursday, Dhankar tagged the chief minister, Congress state president Somen Mitra, TMC MP Derek O’Brien and CPI-M legislator Sujan Chakraborty.
“@MamataOfficial.@SomenMitraINC. @derekobrienmp.@Sujan_Speak. Relations between HCM and Gov is more in statesmanship nature. Pained at its transgression in public domain on two distinct occasions by HCM with no follow up communication.”
The tweet was referring to the differences between Raj Bhawan and the government over celebrating Constitution Day on November 26.
In his second tweet, Dhankhar said, “@MamataOfficial.@Sujan_Speak. Ministers one after the other have orchestrated unpalatable outbursts in public domain about the Governor. I take all these have sanction of the HCM and this is worrisome for me and others who believe in Democracy and Constitution.”
“The governor probably tagged me in his post because I have been saying for some time that the acrimony between him and the TMC is arranged,” said Chakraborty, CPI (M) MLA from Jadavpur.
Asked whether he has received any communication from the chief minister, the governor said that he wouldn’t discuss such matters with the media.
“I have very high respect for the chief minister. She is a very experienced politician. Any communication from her will get immediate attention. Neither I have discussed with the media about such communications from the chief minister, nor shall I do it. But she should control her ministers. But many times I have to issue statements so that there is no misconception in the public,” he said.