West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar lashed out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for not attending the “At Home” programme he had organised at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day.
“Glimpses of ‘At Home’ reception hosted on Independence Day at Raj Bhavan,” Dhankhar tweeted with a video. “CM and executive @MamataOfficial set bad precedent by not attending. Another painful instance of distancing from Constitution. Law & order further nosedived with rise in political violence & killing.” However, Dhankhar did not clarify what he meant by rise in political violence and killings.
Dhankhar also said that the absence of Banerjee and other government officials at the event has “stunned and startled” many, including him. “We need to rise to occasion as respect to freedom fighters who gave their all to secure for us freedom and democracy,” he tweeted. “I am at loss of words.”
The governor said: “The vacant seat meant for CM @MamataOfficial at celebration of Independence Day at Raj Bhawan speaks volumes – has created unwholesome situation that is not in sync with rich culture and ethos of WB. There is just no rationale for this unbecoming stance.”
He said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the programme was attended by less that 35 people. Dhankhar said the attendees included Calcutta High Court Chief Justice TN Radhakrishnan, Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Justice Indra Prasanna Mukerji, Congress leader Abdul Mannan, Left Front leader Sujan Chakraborty, and top officers from the defence and paramilitary forces.
Banerjee had visited Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan on Saturday morning, along with senior bureaucrats and police officials soon after attending the Independence Day parade at Red Road in Kolkata, the Hindustan Times reported. She called it a “courtesy visit”. During the visit, Banerjee told Dhankhar that she would not attend the evening programme.
Banerjee and Dhankhar have had several tussles in the past. In April, Dhankhar and Banerjee sparred over the state government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Dhankhar accused Banerjee’s government of playing appeasement politics. Referring to a letter she wrote to him, where the chief minister accused the governor of repeatedly interfering in the government’s functioning, Dhankhar said it was a strategy to cover up “monumental failures” in handling the health crisis.