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Bengal bureaucrats stay away from meeting, governor fumes

October 23, 2019 05:17 AM

Tanmay Chatterjee

Kolkata : West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday lashed out at the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government over the “utmost disrespect” to the state’s highest office after bureaucrats and elected representatives stayed away from the interactive sessions he had convened during his visit to North and South 24 Parganas districts.

This is the latest in a series of his face-offs with the state government since he took office in July. Dhankhar on October 15 said that he felt insulted over improper seating arrangement for him at the Durga Puja carnival the state government had organised.

“This is the utmost disrespect to the highest office of the state and also its people. I find it absolutely unconstitutional,” Dhankhar said after his first session at Dhamakhali was called off on Tuesday. “I am not a governor who sits in the Governor’s House. I interact with people and discuss their problems. I am the last person who will ever cross his limits,” he said.

Dhankhar, whose second interactive session at Sajnekhali could not be held either, said that magistrates of North and South 24 Parganas districts informed that they needed the government’s permission to attend the meetings. “This is censorship... I am not subordinate to the state government,” said Dhankar.

The TMC, which has earlier accused Dhankhar of overstepping his limits, refused to comment on his latest remarks. “It is not my job to react to the governor’s statements every day. There is an elected government. The head of that government [chief minister Mamata Banerjee] will react if needed,” said TMC secretary-general and minister Partha Chatterjee.

Banerjee was away in north Bengal on a five-day tour and did not react to Dhankhar either.

On September 19, Dhankhar rushed to the Jadavpur University to “rescue” Union minister Babul Supriyo, who was allegedly manhandled there. Elected representatives and officials did not show up for a meeting he called five days later at Siliguri. “It does not make any difference to me if people do not attend my meeting. I will visit every district and call similar meetings in the future,” Dhankhar said then.

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