Mamata vs Dhankhar: Fresh row as Assembly speaker requests footage of guv's press meet attacking TMC govt

The Governor has had several run-ins with the West Bengal government including over appointment of vice-chancellors of state universities and over asking the chief secretary and Police chiefs to appear before him

Press Trust of India January 26, 2022 20:35:20 IST
Mamata vs Dhankhar: Fresh row as Assembly speaker requests footage of guv's press meet attacking TMC govt

File photo of West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. PTI

Kolkata: In a deepening of the spat between Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the TMC-led state government, West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee said on Wednesday he has requested footage of the governor's press meet held in the Assembly premises a day before where he had attacked the state government and accused the speaker of transgressing constitutional norms, before deciding on his future course of action.

Banerjee told reporters on the sidelines of a Republic Day function, that after scrutinising the footage, his office may in future enquire the purpose of any future visits by Dhankhar, other than constitutionally mandatory appearances such as the governor's address of the inaugural session of the house.

Banerjee, a well-known lawyer, also alleged that no governor in the past "had addressed the media in the fashion", Dhankhar did on 25 January. The Governor while speaking to the press after paying floral tributes at the statue of B R Ambedkar on the Assembly premises on the National Voters Day, not only castigated the speaker and the chief minister but also described the political condition in West Bengal as horrible and frightening.

He said the governor had told the speaker before his visit that he would pay floral tributes to the founder of Constitution but "used the occasion (instead) to criticise the government inside the hallowed premises of the Assembly which had never been done by any of his predecessors in past."

"He did not even go to the press corner situated in the premises," the Speaker said.

Banerjee also claimed Dhankhar did not inform his office about the status of bills such as those related to separating Howrah and Bally Municipal areas which had been passed by the house.

BJP State President Sukanta Majumdar described the Speaker's retort as a deliberate attempt to run down the office of governor and against the spirit of the constitution.

"The Speaker cannot consider Assembly as his domain. He should act as Speaker not as the representative of Trinamool. In past, the governor's speech in the house had been blacked out but the Speaker never acted on the issue," the Balurghat MP said.

The governor had said on Tuesday, We have seen post-poll violence of unprecedented level. Those who dared to vote according to their own volition had to pay the price with their life Democracy is in deep peril here.

Noting that a fact-finding committee appointed by the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission had observed that rule of the ruler and not the law prevails in the state, he had said, this is an understatement; West Bengal's situation is so horrible and frightening that there is a horror about the ruler here.

He had also come down heavily on Speaker Biman Banerjee, accusing him of violating constitutional norms and not providing information sought by him, including details of the Assembly resolution on the extension of BSF's area of operation.

Dhankhar also alleged his address to the Assembly was blacked out twice.

The Governor has had several run-ins with the West Bengal government including over appointment of vice-chancellors of state universities and over asking the chief secretary and Police chiefs to appear before him.

Speaker Banerjee too has in the past protested and written letters to President Ram Nath Kovind on Dhankhar's alleged interference in legislative matters.

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