West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday wrote a nine-page letter to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, criticising him for questioning Director General of Police Virendra’s handling of law and order in the state.
Dhankhar lashed out at the state police chief on Monday for sending a “two-line” reply to his queries about the state’s law-and-order situation. The Governor also summoned the police officer.
In her letter to Dhankhar, the Chief Minister wrote,”I was extremely upset, anguished and disillusioned on reading your captioned letter and the note addressed to the Director General of Police which was placed before me, as well as to see your Twitter post regarding the same.”
Banerjee said the Governor’s aspersions consist of uncorroborated judgements and insinuations against the police and the state government.
Banerjee again reminded Dhankhar that he was an executive nominee of the President, whereas she was “the elected representative of the people of West Bengal”.
“I request, aid and advise you, in the capacity of the Chief Minister of this state, to act within the mandates of the Constitution and refrain from acting on a political mandate, if any, to destabilise a democratically elected government.”
She added, “Refrain from surpassing the Chief Minister and her Council of Ministers and communicating with and dictating to state officials, in excess of your powers under the Constitution and directing them to attend before you.”
Banerjee reminded Dhankhar of a Governor’s role. “At the outset, I wish to call upon the wisdom of Dr BR Ambedkar who, while explaining Article 167 of the Constitution, had opined that, Hon’ble Governor is like the ‘British Crown’ and thus the Hon’ble Governor has no right to interfere with the ‘day-to-day’ administration of the state government. He further stated that under Article 167, the only information that the Hon’ble Governor is entitled to, is regarding executive and legislative proposals of the ministry, from the Chief Minister.”
The Chief Minister’s said Dhankhar’s “inquiry into criminal investigations in connection with a particular accused Mr A Singh and seeking reports regarding the investigation processes from the Director General of Police is not information regarding any executive or legislative proposal and such inquiry not only amounts to interference in the day-to-day administration of the state government but also gives rise to serious suspicions of interference in and influencing on going investigation”.
Banerjee told the Governor that his tweets and “attempts to seek intervention of senior members of the bureaucracy by personal communications” amount to interference with “law mandated actions by the police force”. This was “illegitimate and reeks of favouritism”, she added.
Responding to the letter, Dhankhar tweeted, “DGP @WBPolice did not appear as requested — third time in a row — can’t be overlooked. DGP does not want to explain affairs @MamataOfficial CM writes instead, on his behalf. Is this what constitutionalism envisages? Is CM being rightfully counselled? Would respond to CM.
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