Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi had threatened and insulted her over the phone, and spoken like “a BJP block president”. Tripathi had called up Banerjee after the communal clashes in parts of North 24-Parganas district. “I have never been insulted like this in my life. He spoke like a block president of the BJP. He cannot threaten me like this. I have made it clear to him that he cannot speak to me like this,” said Banerjee, who hurriedly called a press conference after the conversation.
“He is showing me law and order. He used objectionable language. I am not his servant. We have not come to power with his mercy, or that of parties like the BJP or CPM. He should remember he was nominated by the Centre, but I have been elected to this chair,” said Banerjee. “Whenever BJP leaders approach him over small issues, he takes one side. This is unwanted,” she added.
“There was scope for better performance by police, but one cannot start shooting at the masses. Hundreds would have been killed. It took some time to control the mob. I have told leaders of both communities that I will not tolerate violence,” said Banerjee, adding that strict action would be taken against those who damage public property.
The CM stated that the Governor called her up to speak about the flare-up in North 24-Parganas. The phone call came after a delegation of the BJP state leadership met the Governor at Raj Bhavan. Later in the day, Tripathi stated in a press release that he was surprised at Banerjee’s “attitude and language” during the press conference.
“The Hon’ble Governor is surprised at the attitude and language by Hon’ble CM during the press conference today. Talks between Hon’ble CM and Hon’ble Governor is confidential in nature and none is expected to disclose it. However, there was nothing in the talks for which the Hon’ble CM may have felt insulted, threatened or humiliated. The Hon’ble Governor did call the Hon’ble CM to ensure peace and law and order… The Hon’ble Governor being Head of the state is the guardian of all citizens of the state and not of any particular party.”
Meanwhile, Opposition parties urged the CM and Governor to show restraint. “This is sad and unwelcome. The Governor’s chair and CM’s post are constitutional positions. Both should show restraint,” said state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “She is trying to shrug off her responsibility by blaming others. What is so insulting if the Governor enquired about the law and order situation in Basirhat? It is a complete failure of the government.”