West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Tuesday directed the state government to remove Minister of Education Bratya Basu from the Cabinet for an alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct ahead of the approaching Lok Sabha polls, reported The Hindu.

The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission that political parties and governments are mandated to follow while campaigning.

Basu is alleged to have violated poll conduct rules by presiding over a “political meeting” at Gour Banga University on March 30. Bose is the chancellor of the university.

“In the light of the political meeting held in Gour Banga University under the leadership and presence of Shri Bratya Basu (Minister of Education) with other Ministers, MPs, MLAs and political leaders on 30th March, 2024, the Chancellor and Governor has directed the State government to take action against the erring Minister who has deliberately violated the election code of conduct,” said a statement issued by Raj Bhavan, the governor’s official residence.

It also said: “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.”

Basu responded to the direction for his removal by accusing the governor of overreaching his powers. “The Indian Constitution clearly states that the recommendation of appointment or removal of any Minister lies with the Chief Minister,” the education minister wrote on X. “He [Bose] has not only shown his true colours, he has exceeded his constitutional limit as well.”

Basu added it was the prerogative of a political party to refer possible violations of the Model Code of Conduct to the Election Commission, which would then rule on the further course action.

The West Bengal governor and state government have recently clashed over other issues concerning the state’s education ministry. Bose had earlier asked for the removal of the vice chancellor of Gour Banga University from his post, but the state’s Trinamool Congress-led had government refrained from acting on the direction.

On March 17, Bose had announced the launch of the “Log Sabha” website where citizens of West Bengal could lodge election related complaints. On March 22, the Trinamool Congress complained to the Election Commission that the governor was intruding on the domain of the poll panel by doing.