The communal violence that broke out in West Bengal over a Facebook post has led to a war of words between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. Addressing media after his telephonic conversation with Tripathi over the violence in North 24 Parganas district, Banerjee accused the latter of insulting and threatening her. She also said that the governor was acting like a “BJP block president”.
“He (Governor) threatened me over phone. The way he spoke taking the side of BJP, I felt insulted. I have told him that he cannot talk like this,” Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
“He (the governor) is behaving like a block president of BJP. He should understand that he has been nominated to the post…,” she said. “He talked big on law and order. I am not here at the mercy of anyone. The way he spoke to me, I once thought of leaving (the chair).”
Tripathi, however, rejected her charges saying “there was nothing in the talks for Mamata Banerjee to have felt insulted, threatened or humiliated”. He also said that a governor cannot remain a mute spectator to the affairs in the state.
Tripathi defended himself against the allegation levelled by the chief minister through a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan. “The Hon’ble Governor is surprised at the attitude and language used by the Hon’ble Chief Minister during the Press conference today. The talks between the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Governor were confidential in nature and none is expected to disclose it,” the statement said.
It said that the Governor asked the chief minister to ensure peace and law and order by all means. “The Hon’ble Governor always holds the persons, who occupy the Constitutional positions, in high esteem,” it added.
The statement said that Governor, being the head of the state, is the guardian of all the citizens and not of any particular party or section of society. It said that it was proper for the Governor to bring to the notice of the chief minister any serious grievance made by any member of public or any serious event happening in the state. “The Hon’ble Governor cannot remain a mute spectator to the affairs in the State,” it said.
State BJP President Dilip Ghosh wondered why the chief minister felt insulted when the Governor inquired about an incident. “Can’t the Governor ask her why the incident has happened. If the Governor asked her about it, where is the question of her being insulted,” he said.
Earlier, communal violence broke out in North 24 Parganas district, prompting the Centre to rush 300 paramilitary personnel. According to Banerjee the clashes between members of two communities have broken out in Baduria in Basirhat sub-division of the district over the “objectionable” post. According to PTI sources, the clashes were triggered last evening over an “objectionable” Facebook post about a holy site.
The BJP, meanwhile, alleged that over 2,000 Muslims attacked Hindu families in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal and its offices at several places were set on fire.
Accusing the state police of failing to control the situation, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also in charge of the state, urged Home Minister Rajnath Singh to intervene in the matter. Vijayvargiya blamed Muslims for the violence in his letter to Singh.