‘Abject Failure’: Bengal Governor Writes Scathing 14-Page Letter To Mamata Banerjee Responding To Her Missive

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Apr 24, 2020 05:37 PM +05:30 IST
‘Abject Failure’: Bengal Governor Writes Scathing 14-Page Letter To Mamata Banerjee Responding To Her Missive  Mamata Banerjee with Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.
  • Dhankar has accused Banerjee of failure in combating the coronavirus in West Bengal, appeasing the minorities and of undermining the Constitution.

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar has virtually signalled a ‘no-confidence’ on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and accused her of failure on many fronts. In a 14-page letter to the Chief Minister sent on Friday in reply to her Thursday’s five-page missive, Dhankar has levelled multiple and serious allegations against her.

Dhankar has accused Banerjee of “abject failure in combating and containing Coronavirus in West Bengal”, “appeasement of minority community” and of undermining the Constitution by asking for a United Nations-supervised referendum on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Dhankar wrote that Banerjee compared poorly with Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (considered to be Bengal’s best chief minister and a stalwart), something that is sure to get her goat. He said Dr Roy would not have taken the coercive route, violated human rights, indulged in politicking, allowed looting of public funds and allowed scams in the public distribution system.

The Governor also wrote that Bengal’s conduct is putting the state to shame nationally and globally. He criticised the opposition to the visit of the two inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs) to Bengal and the latest ban on carrying mobile phones inside hospitals. He advised her to “disable your political antenna, shun confrontationist approach and be in action mode”  and also desist from “verbal outburst”.

Pages 1 and 2 of the governor’s letter. 
Pages 1 and 2 of the governor’s letter. 
Pages 3 and 4 of the governor’s letter. 
Pages 3 and 4 of the governor’s letter. 

He warned that Bengal “awaits catastrophe” if things are allowed to drift and the current wrongs on various fronts continue. Dhankar termed the Chief Minister’s letter to him as “part of an ‘alibi strategy’ (that) emanates from a script that seeks to cover up monumental failures in these challenging times”.

The media, he added, is muzzled, there is “virtual suspension of human rights of those not belonging to your (the Trinamool) party”, “emasculation of the (state) administration and police has reached (its) pinnacle as a consequence of their politicization”.

“As an escape route you thought of being in your favourite pastime of being in ‘accusatory mode’ and take to the streets. Let me indicate in times of such gigantic crisis ‘street fighter approach’ is counter productive and has potential to spell disaster for the people,” wrote the Governor.

The Governor also asked her how “sagacious it is for the CM to take mike and broom day after day in this grim situation”. He suggested that “real time action and effective governance”, and not “theatrics or politicking”, is the need of the hour.

Dhankar brought up the issue of Banerjee’s opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and wrote that “history of sorts, though unwholesome, was created when you for days in a row took to the streets, virtually abandoning governance” to sustain the anti-CAA movement.

“I had cautioned you that this was contrary to your oath,” wrote the Governor, adding that “crores of Rupees from the state exchequer were spent in advertisements supportive of your political stance” and suggested that amounted to a loot of the treasury.

The Governor also accused the Chief Minister of violating the Constitution and reminded her of the constitutional position of the Governor who, he reminded her, is neither a rubber stamp, nor a post office. The Chief Minister’s actions, he said, were “antithetical to the core values of the Constitution” and an “affront to Dr Ambedkar and the founding fathers of the Constitution”.

Dhankar told the Chief Minister that her “accusatory mode” against the Governor and the central government “emanates from your failure to handle diligently Covid-19 crisis and other burning issues”.

He wrote that the Chief Minister “not only lacked courtesy, but was also in shouting mode”. He told her in no uncertain terms that Bengal is not her ‘fiefdom’ and has to be run in accordance with the Constitution “for which you (Banerjee) have scant regard”.

He signed off the letter by extending an olive branch: “Lastly I would appeal to you that you have a friend in Raj Bhavan who is ever in cooperative mode to work shoulder to shoulder for public good”.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress reacted sharply to the Governor's letter to Banerjee. Trinamool Lok Sabha MP Mohua Maitra took to social media to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to recall the Governor from Bengal and keep him locked up in Delhi.

The MP said a time when the state is engaged in fighting the pandemic, there is "no inclination to keep engaging or humouring an out-of-work lawyer on a gubernatorial assignment in Kolkata's Raj Bhawan".

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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