Raj Bhawan-Nabanna stand-off escalates

Guv charges CM with resort to emotional blackmail, ruling party targets him for exceeding Constitutional limits Mamata moots peace-keeping groups for 60,000 booths across state
Report by: 
5 Jul 2017

Dismissing chief minister Mamata Banerjee's allegations that he humiliated and insulted her, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi today said the charges are baseless and meant only to emotionally blackmail the people of the state.

Reacting strongly to Mamata's allegations, Tripathi in a statement said "instead of making accusations against him, it is better for the chief minister and her colleagues to direct their attention to maintain peace and law and order in the state without making any distinction on the basis of caste, creed or community."  "The Governor is of the view that Raj Bhawan is not a department of the state government and is open to every citizen to approach him for redressal of his or her grievances," he said in the statement released by the Raj Bhawan here. "It is wrong to say that Raj Bhawan has become the office of the BJP or the RSS," he said.

"Her (Banerjee's) allegation is baseless and is meant only to emotionally blackmail the people of West Bengal," he said.
The Governor emphasised that "Raj Bhawan is not expected to tear off or throw in the wastepaper basket, the representations received by the governor or his office from any person. Whenever any such representation is received from anyone, the same is forwarded to the state government for appropriate action." Reacting sharply to TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee's statement that the governor is crossing his Constitutional limits, Tripathi said it is an attempt to cover the lapses of the state government and divert attention from the main issue.

"The governor has been apprised of the statement of Partha Chatterjee, Hon'ble education minister, and regrets to say that this is an attempt to cover the lapses of the state government and divert attention from the main issue of law and order," the statement said. "The Governor is fully aware of his constitutional obligations and limitations and needs no lesson from anyone on this count," it stated. "True that the chief minister has been democratically elected by the people, but it should not be forgotten that the governor is also appointed by the president on the recommendation of a democratically elected Union government", the statement read.

At a press conference held in the morning, the TMC secretary general also said that the party won't tolerate any insult to the chief minister and if he does not regret his words, they will think of taking harder action. Later today at a brief press conference held at the state secretariat, the chief minister said that the state government has decided to form booth-wise peacekeeping forces to prevent communal clashes. The peacekeeping forces will keep a vigil on the locality and spring into action in case of any tension. She also said situation at Baduria and North 24 Parganas are now normal. However, she refused to give any reaction to the statement issued by the Raj Bhawan. Earlier today train services on the Barasat Hasnabad and the Barasat Bongaon sections of Eastern Railway were disrupted for four and a half hours today due to obstruction by agitators at different stations along the route.

The agitators were protesting against communal violence that affected Baduria block in the Basirhat sub-division of North 24-Parganas district since Monday. Rail tracks in both these sections pass through North 24-Parganas district which covers a vast area starting from the northern fringes of Kolkata and shares an extensive international border with Bangladesh in the east. The situation in and around Baduria, where communal clashes erupted over an "objectionable" Facebook post on Sunday, was today "tense but under control".

No untoward incident was reported till 11 am, a police officer said. Senior police officers have been deployed in the area to keep a vigil. Announcements were being via the public address system asking the people to maintain law and order.The police were also trying to convince the people to resume normal activities.