For the second time in a row, no official of the West Bengal government was present at a meeting called by Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Tuesday during his visit to a district outside Kolkata, triggering strong reactions from him.
During the day, Mr. Dhankar visited North 24 Parganas but senior officials of the district administration as well as public representatives remained absent from the meeting.
Earlier, on September 24, when the Governor visited Siliguri in Darjeeling district, neither any senior officer of the State government nor any public representative from the ruling party, the Trinamool Congress, was present.
“Certain things have to believed in, that’s part of the protocol, part of propriety, part of dignity. If I read the absence of the District Magistrate along with the high voltage statements of ministers that we will boycott the visit. I am worried,” the Governor said.
He told journalists that he had no idea why the district administration was behaving in such a manner and maintained that such a behaviour “has no parallel”.
A letter dated October 21 by District Magistrate North 24 Parganas said that permission from the government was required to request public representatives, State and Central government officials to attend an interactive session called by the Governor. The letter also cited that senior government functionaries were in north Bengal from October 21 to 23 on account of the administrative review meeting of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
A prestige issue?, he says
An upset Governor asked, whether it has become a prestige issue that the Governor of West Bengal will not be received by District Magistrate. “The cultured people of the State of West Bengal will find it very difficult to digest it or swallow it,” he said, adding that he was the “last person to ever cross his limits”.
Referring to the example at Siliguri and in North 24 Parganas, he also wondered whether his visit was impacting “the health of district magistrates”. “This should not have happened. I am surprised,” he reiterated expressing his displeasure.
The relations between the Governor and the State government have been far from being cordial. Since his appointment as the Governor in July, Mr Dhankar has raised questions on various aspects of the State’s functioning, including law and order. On September 19, he ‘rescued’ Union Minister Babul Supriyo from agitating students at the Jadavpur University.