Kolkata: The winter session of the West Bengal Assembly was abruptly adjourned on Tuesday amidst ruling TMC's charges that the governor was wilfully withholding his assent to a clutch of bills and Jagdeep Dhankhar ridiculing the government for working at "snail's pace" and not answering his queries on them.
The issue, which has snowballed into a major political controversy, reached even the floor of Parliament as TMC MPs raised the issue in both the Houses and staged a walkout in Rajya Sabha after the party was not allowed to raise the issue.
In West Bengal Assembly TMC MLAs, including senior ministers, staged a protest and slammed Dhankhar over the delay in clearing the bills and demanded his immediate removal.
Dhankhar, who refused to accept the charge, asserted that he will work according to the Constitution and he cannot be blamed for the delay in giving his assent to the bills.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee told the house that all the queries of the governor have been duly addressed by the government, while Speaker Biman Banerjee said all the queries by Dhankhar have been duly addressed by the assembly.
Later in the afternoon, a Raj Bhavan statement said the governor had sent a message to the speaker for consideration with respect to the West Bengal State Commission for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2019, by the legislature.
The governor in a letter to the speaker asked him to inform the house about all the communication and despatches for consideration of the legislators.
"I will work as per the Constitution of the country. It is not my fault if the government moves at snail's pace in answering the queries. By blaming me they can't evade their responsibility," Dhankhar told reporters at Raj Bhawan.
The legislators, including the ministers, claimed that the governor was "withholding" important bills, which needed to be tabled in the Assembly for discussion.
"Is this the way a governor functions? He is not allowing the state assembly to run properly. Since last week, we have not been able to discuss any new bill as the governor is not giving his nod.
"The SC & ST Commission Bill, among other legislations, is waiting for his clearance," Tapas Roy, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said.
"Despite speaking to the governor the bills didn't get the nod. We have duly addressed all his queries but nothing has moved forward," Chatterjee, who is also the TMC secretary-general, told the house.
The winter session of the assembly which began from 29 November was likely to continue till 13 December. But it was decided to be adjourned due to lack of business as there are no bills to be discussed, Roy said.
"The governor is not giving any nod to the bills. Several important bills are being held up and we are yet to get a nod. So it was decided in the Business Advisory Committee meeting to adjourn the house for the winter session," Roy said.
The TMC leaders claimed that even before the letter to the speaker had reached the assembly it was leaked to the media by the Governor.
Trinamool Congress MPs shouted slogans against the West Bengal Governor and walked out of Rajya Sabha after the party was not allowed to raise an issue drawing the ire of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu who said Parliament's image was "going down" due to such conduct.
The issue was also raised by TMC MP Saugata Roy in the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to clip the wings of the governor, the West Bengal government on Tuesday tabled in the Assembly a new rule under which universities in the state will have the power to call meetings of their highest decision making bodies without consulting the state's governor, their chancellor.
Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the TMC government over a number of issues, since assuming charge as the governor of West Bengal.
The relation between the ruling party and the governor hit a new low after Speaker Biman Banerjee last week adjourned the House for two days as bills slated to be placed in the Assembly were yet to get his nod.
The claim was, however, refuted by the Raj Bhavan, which, in a statement, termed the situation "factually untenable".
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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2019 23:58:29 IST