THE WAR of words between the West Bengal government and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi over the communal violence in North 24-Parganas continued Wednesday, even as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke separately to both as part of a review by the Centre. In Kolkata, reacting to Education Minister Partha Chatterjee’s allegation that the Governor had crossed constitutional limits by “targeting” CM Mamata Banerjee, Tripathi described it as an attempt by the state government to cover its lapses and divert attention from the real issue. “The Governor has been apprised of the statement of Shri 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 the attention from the main issue of law and order. The Governor is fully aware of his constitutional obligations and limitations,” read the statement issued by Raj Bhawan.
On Tuesday, Banerjee had alleged that the Governor had threatened and insulted her when he spoke to her about the violence in Bashirhat. On Wednesday, Minister Chatterjee accused the Governor of trying to “instigate people who are trying to create unrest in the state”. Chatterjee also alleged that Raj Bhawan had “become the party office of BJP”.
Criticising Chatterjee’s remarks, Tripathi said, “The Governor is of the view that Raj Bhawan is not a Department of the State Government and it is open to every citizen to approach him for redress of his or her grievances. It is wrong to say that Raj Bhawan has become the office of the BJP or the RSS.” Referring once again to Banerjee’s statement Tuesday, the statement said: “The Governor further reiterates that he did not utter a single word to insult or threaten the CM. Her allegation is baseless and meant only to emotionally blackmail the people.”
In Delhi, the Home Ministry sought a detailed report from the state government on the violence in the district following an “objectionable” Facebook post and the steps taken to restore normalcy. In conversations with Tripathi and Banerjee, the Home Minister took stock of the situation in the riot-hit area, said officials. “The state government is effectively handling the situation and a report has been sought to make further assessment of requirement of security forces,” said Ashok Prasad, home ministry spokesperson.