‘Not in political circus’: Bengal governor after TMC leaders skip meeting
The confrontation between West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the ruling Trinamool Congress, which started with the scuffle at Jadavpur University in Kolkata on September 19, touched a new low in Siliguri town on Tuesday when no government official and Trinamool Congress leader turned up for a meeting called by the governor.
In Siliguri to inaugurate the new office of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Dhankhar had convened a meeting where he wanted to meet officials and local people’s representatives from all parties. It was announced three days ago and invitations were sent from the Governor House. However, only some opposition party leaders turned up.
Later Dhankhar told the media, “This cannot be the kind of reception given to the governor who is the head of the state. I am not in a political circus and I have a hardcore constitutional role. The hardcore constitutional role cannot be done unless you believe in letter and spirit what has to be done.”
State tourism minister Gautam Deb did not attend the inauguration of the ICC office although he was invited as the chief guest. Later, the commissioner of Siliguri Police Tripurari Atharv and district magistrate of Darjeeling Deepap Priya P did not turn up at the meeting Dhankhar convened. TMC leaders skipped the meeting too.
The governor said, “This (absence) does not fit in with the culture of West Bengal. The culture of West Bengal is very different.”
Gautam Deb said, “I could not attend the ICC programme because I was pre-occupied.” The Siliguri police commissioner and the Darjeeling DM were not available for comment.
The confrontation between Dhankhar and the TMC started on September 19 when he rushed to Jadavpur University to rescue Union minister Babul Supriyo from agitating students. While the TMC accused Dhankhar of exceeding his role, the governor said that as chancellor of the University he did the right thing.
At the ICC programme on Tuesday, Dhankhar said that he and chief minister Mamata Banerjee “must be friends”. “She would be a friend to me. She must be a friend. We will be friends, and we have no other option,” he said.