Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar last night responded to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s five-page letter after she accused him of “forgetting” that she was the elected head of government in the state and he was merely a “nominated” one. “Perhaps this is not the first factual tripping at your end,” Mr Dhankhar, 68, wrote in a five-page response to the attack by the Chief Minister as the state fights the coronavirus pandemic.
Hitting out at the Chief Minister, Mr Dhankhar wrote: “Your constant refrain of governor being ‘nominated’ is lamentable and can be ascribed only to elementary ignorance of the Constitution.”
“This response be taken as initial one and a thorough one will be imparted to you tomorrow with complete documentation so that people of the state, as you say, are made aware and come to know the series of acts of indignities and indiscretions heaped by you, your ministers on the Governor all through,” the letter reads.
In a tweet, Mr Dhankhar said that he would send a “final” response today at 11 am.
Initial Response @MamataOfficial. Final one tomorrow. People need to know all. State and people cannot be made to suffer at the hands of those who compromise constitutional prescriptions. None is above Law. pic.twitter.com/FA3jIFpipy
— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) April 23, 2020
The Bengal Governor also shot back at Ms Banerjee over the mention of exchange of messages between them in the Trinamool Congress chief’s letter.
“The tone tenor and language of your letters and messages to me are unparliamentary and an insult to my office,” Ms Banerjee wrote on Thursday, adding, “You appear to have forgotten that I am an elected Chief Minister of a proud Indian state. You also seem to have forgotten that you are a nominated Governor.”
Reacting to the accusations, Mr Dhankhar said: “In quoting my message, you have ignored a subsequent message that I sent you immediately after our telephone conversation. That message is thus: ‘I do not appreciate the outbursts. Time for composed interaction. Governor is not expected to be in sleep mode when the State is facing stressful challenges’,” his letter reads.
While the political sparring may have turned more acerbic between the two than ever before, the latest war of words has triggered speculation about what may trigger a constitutional crisis of some sort.
A section of political analysts say there cannot be any adverse consequences for Mamata Banerjee as Bengal and other states have seen worse exchanges between the chief ministers and governors. However, other analysts are watching the situation unfold warily with the state election in Bengal due next year.
The feud has escalated after two central government teams were sent to West Bengal and officials alleged they were stonewalled by the state government. The Bengal administration has accused the centre of stifling its COVID-19 response by sending faulty test kits.