Unprecedented in the history of West Bengal, it seems an irreparable divide has taken place between the occupants of the two highest constitutional posts in the state — the Governor and the Chief Minister.
The breach of trust between the two came out in the open after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a press conference at the state secretariat, this week, and minced no words, saying Governor Kesari Nath Triptahi humiliated her during a telephone call. Since then the tit for tat has continued, with both writing to the President about the issue and making public statements.
The CM claimed to be deeply hurt and labelled the Governor as someone who is speaking as ‘BJP Block president’. The Governor in a press release retorted that he had said nothing which was humiliating.
This at a time when the state is faced with a fresh communal flare up, adding to a long list of incidents since Durga Puja last year. Following an objectionable post in the social media, there was communal trouble in the Bashirhat-Baduria areas in North 24 parganas district near the Indo- Bangladesh border Monday onwards. Despite the deployment of four companies of paramilitary forces and shutting down the internet in area, normalcy is still to be restored.
Meanwhile, the agitation in the hills of Darjeeling shows no signs of abating since it began on June 8 over the demand of a separate Gorkhaland state. Three persons were killed and many injured during the protests.
According to sources close with Mamata Banerjee, it was the words and the tone the Governor used when he called her up on July 5 that upset her. She claimed that she had ‘never been humiliated like this’ in her life and was ‘threatened’ by the Governor.
The Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi claims to have made the call to ensure ‘law and order’ immediately after a BJP and RSS delegation met with him at Raj Bhawan and highlighted the ‘grave’ nature of the situation in Bashirhat Baduria.
Trinamool Congress leaders have trained their guns on the Governor, even asking him to leave. The Governor on his part kept up the ante, issuing statements from his office, stating ‘this is an attempt to cover up the lapses of the state government and divert the attention from the main issue of law and order’.
Soon after the Governor stepped into Raj Bhawan in Kolkata (July 2014), he made sure he spoke his mind on different issues in the state, be it violence on the campus or communal flare ups. This has angered Trinamool Congress leaders and they have criticized him from time to time.
Opposition parties in the state, like the Congress and CPIM, have appealed for peace between the two. The BJP, on the other hand, has stood with the Governor and his stand on law and order.
In the tussle between the CM and the Governor, issues which need the urgent attention of the government are being ignored.