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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Tripura governor spars with Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien over Mohan Bhagwat event

Kolkata police also made an appearance on Twitter to claim that the hall booking was rejected because of a 10-day annual renovation exercise that’s usually taken up during the Puja holidays.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2017 20:12 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to speak on the role played by Sister Nivedita in India’s freedom struggle.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to speak on the role played by Sister Nivedita in India’s freedom struggle. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Tripura governor Tathagata Roy took to Twitter on Tuesday to slam the West Bengal government for allegedly trying to impede an event featuring RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat at a state-owned auditorium in Kolkata, spurring a war of tweets with Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien.

Bhagwat was supposed to be the main speaker during an event meant to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Scots-Irish social worker Nivedita at the Mahajati Sadan on October 3. The booking was confirmed in July, and the fees and municipal taxes were paid for.

However, as the Hindustan Times reported on Monday, auditorium authorities informed the Sister Nivedita Mission Trust that their booking stands cancelled due to scheduled maintenance work at the establishment. Roy, a former BJP leader who describes himself a swayamsevak, tweeted his displeasure over the turn of events the very next day. “Mahajati Sadan was booked for Nivedita Mission Trust, in which PP Mohan Bhagwatji was to speak. Booking suddenly cancelled on a langda excuse,” he alleged.

O’Brien, who happens to be the Trinamool Congress leader in the Rajya Sabha, retweeted Roy’s post with the comment: “Ladies and gentlemen, he is the governor of an Indian state”. He was voicing his disapproval over somebody in a supposedly neutral position proclaiming his political leanings so openly.

Roy, however, wasn’t deterred. “Those who cancelled Mahajati Sadan booking are so sick, no courage to say out loud the real reason. Instead, they give the stupidest of excuses,” he remarked in another tweet.

O’Brien shared this as well, adding: “Is this man really the governor of a state?”

The battle, however, was far from over. Later that day, Roy shared O’Brien’s tweet and posed a question: “Arrow struck bullseye, huh?”

The Trinamool leader responded by expressing surprise over being picked on in this manner. “Oh wow, the governor of a state is not done yet. Now engaging on @twitter with me. Huh! And all,” he quipped.

Roy, however, could not be quelled by mere references to his constitutional position. The next tweet posted from his handle went: “Gawd, the same tired old howl: ‘How can a governor, are you a governor, blah, blah’! C’mon, engage with me on merits! I’m claiming no privileges.”

But O’Brien refused to be coerced into an unnecessary tussle on the Internet. “Where did the Governor go?” he tweeted after a few minutes. “Wanted to ask him what the wi-fi speed is like in his Raj Bhavan. Enough fun had. Now going offline.”

The governor, who has often been accused of stirring controversies by posting pro-Hindutva tweets that do not befit his official position, defended himself when HT contacted him later that evening. “I am only expressing my opinion. Derek O’Brien does not interpret the Constitution. If I’m not adhering to the Constitution, there are high courts and the Supreme Court to look into that,” he said.

The Kolkata police also appeared on the social media platform to deny playing a role in the booking cancellation. “The reason for denial by the Mahajati Sadan authority is a 10-day yearly renovation (exercise that’s taken up) during the Puja holidays. (There’s) No renting of halls during that period,” it tweeted. O’Brien shared this post as well.

Organisers of the event told HT that they will go ahead with the event despite the turn of events. They are now scouting for another venue to host Bhagwat.

Apart from the RSS chief, Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi will also attend the event. Bhagwat will speak on the role played by Sister Nivedita in India’s freedom struggle.

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 20:12 IST

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