West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday wrote a 14-page letter to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar – the latest in the escalating war of words between the two over Covid-19 management in the state – and accused him of using “abusive” language against her and state ministers, PTI reported.
Banerjee’s rebuttal came after receiving two letters from Dhankhar last week. In his letters, the governor had accused Banerjee of having “abjectly failed” in dealing with the Covid-19 situation in the state. He had also alleged that Banerjee was trying to cover up her government’s “monumental failures”
“Such words and such communications of such content, tenor and tone from a Governor to an elected CM [chief minister] are unprecedented in the annals of Indian constitutional and political history,” Banerjee wrote in her letter, according to PTI. “Your words against me and my ministers and officers can be described as vituperative, intemperate, intimidating and abusive.” Banerjee accused Dhankhar of preaching and sermonising constitutional norms without practicing them.
“When I read your two letters, and many earlier ones as well, I felt more sad than angry,” she added, according to NDTV. “My second emotion was one of amusement.”
“I list my favourite ones, verbatim taken from you: ... like loose cannons in public domain; driven by external script; theatrics and politicking, law unto oneself... bravado mode of collision... but respected Governor, preaching without practice and sermonising while violating, does not behove you or your office,” she continued.
Dhankhar hit back at Banerjee with a series of tweets. “While I find no substance in her version, both in fact and law, I appreciate her stance ‘for full cooperation with State Government’,” he wrote. “Persistently I had been beseeching her to work in togetherness as we are faced virtually with roof falling situation. Hope she acts as such.”
Earlier in the day, Dhankhar had accused Banerjee of covering up data on Covid-19. “Give up ‘Covid-19 data cover up operation’ Mamata Banerjee and share it transparently,” he said. “Health bulletin 30/4 No of Active Covid cases 572. No health bulletin on May 1! Information to central Government No of cases 931.”
Dhankhar had clashed with Banerjee over the visit of inter-ministerial central teams, accusing her of creating roadblocks in their job.
The Centre had on April 20 deployed two inter-ministerial central teams, or IMCTs, to West Bengal. However, the teams reported that the Banerjee-led government was obstructing their work and denying access to certain areas in the state. The state government had claimed that the teams were dispatched without its knowledge.
Subsequently, on April 21, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs directed the West Bengal government to allow the central teams to carry out their work unhindered. The next day, the state government said that it will fully cooperate with the teams. In a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha denied that the work of these teams was being obstructed.
West Bengal has 795 cases of Covid-19, according the Union health ministry. Thirty-three people have died in the state.