Mamata Banerjee's silence over post-poll violence concerning, says West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar
The governor was visiting the Ranpagli camp in Assam's Dhubri district where people from Cooch Behar in West Bengal have allegedly taken shelter after announcement of election results
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Friday accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of remaining "silent when there was bloodshed" during alleged post-poll violence in the state. Dhankhar also said the TMC government could have easily prevented the situation from deteriorating by providing compensation and rehabilitation to affected families and through area domination to prevent violence.
"There was bloodshed in the state. I should not say much as the matter is under investigation but the Chief Minister's silence is a matter of concern and worries for me", the Governor said after visiting the Ranpagli camp in Assam's Dhubri district where people from Cooch Behar in West Bengal have allegedly taken shelter after announcement of election results.
The Governor had on Thursday visited villages affected places in Cooch Behar district. "Apprehending that the administration will not help them, these people had to flee from their homes and there cannot be anything more shameful for me and the government than people having to take shelter in another state to save their lives," Governor Dhankar said.
People at the shelter claimed to have fled their homes in Bengal after the poll results were out on 2 May. They also alleged that their houses were "ransacked by Trinamool Congress goons".
Post-poll violence in West Bengal has claimed 16 lives, with all parties including the ruling TMC complaining of attacks by rivals. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has promised strict corrective action and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each of those killed, after assuming office on 5 May.
She has blamed a lax administration under the watch of the Election Commission compounded by a series of transfers of state and district police chiefs ordered by the electoral watchdog, for the state of affairs.
Dhankar alleged "she (Banerjee) provoked her supporters, particularly women, to oppose central forces by various means. It is extremely painful to me that a Chief
Minister should do this as this is antithetical to the rule of law.
"Is it not evident who are the victims and who are the perpetrators of crime?" he asked after visiting the Ranpagli camp.
He said a government should be positive and progressive but "I don't understand this government's constant conflict with all - the Centre, Governor, Election Commission of India and the central forces.
Urging the Mamata Banerjee government to shun confrontation, he said "we are going in a very wrong direction from which it will be very difficult to return." Dhankar also defended the centre's track record in distributing vaccines and said that distribution is done on the basis of the gravity of the situation in a state. The TMC government has accused the Centre of discrimination over the distribution of vaccines, claiming that some states were being given preference at the cost of others.
The run-up to the visit was marked by a war of words between the Governor and Mamata Banerjee with the chief minister writing a letter on Wednesday claiming the visit violated established norms as it was being undertaken unilaterally without consultations with the state government.
Banerjee also pointed out to the Governor, that he was by-passing the state council of ministers and dictating directly to state officials, which she held was violative of the constitution. Dhankhar wrote back saying his visit to Cooch Behar was to share the pain and agony of the people suffering from post-poll violence. The West Bengal governor travelled to the camp in Assam's Dhubri district by road from Cooch Behar as his helicopter could not take off owing to bad weather. He was accompanied by the BJP MP for Cooch Behar, Nisith Pramanik, raising eyebrows.
Dhankar, however, justified the presence of Pramanik in his entourage during his two-day visit contending that an MP is not of a particular party but of the whole constituency.
Earlier on Thursday, Governor Dhankar was shown black flags at Sitalkuchi, where four villagers died after firing by central forces during the elections, while "go back" slogans were raised at Dinhata during his visit to Cooch Behar district to meet people allegedly affected in post-poll violence.
"He is trying to instigate unrest when the situation in the state is peaceful since May 9," TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said.
The Trinamool Congress claimed that Dhankhar has been acting at the bidding of his political bosses in Delhi. Accusing the governor of being partisan, Roy pointed out to reporters that Dhankhar did not visit the houses of those killed in firing by central forces at Sitalkuchi or of TMC workers who died in violence in Cooch Behar district.
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