A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that her phone was being tapped, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday said that several political leaders and businessmen in the state told him that their privacy was also compromised.
“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself knows what she has said . She only knows what evidence she possesses (to back her allegation of phone tapping). But I can tell one thing that a large number of people, including political leaders and businessmen, have told me that their privacy is compromised,” Dhankhar said on the sideline of an event here.
The comments from the governor came a day after Banerjee said her phone was “tapped” and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to investigate the matter.
“My phone was also tapped and I have said this many times before. I have evidence. This is happening at the behest of the Central government and two-three state governments. I will not name the states, but one is ruled by BJP. The PM should look into the matter,” she had said.
Banerjee was reacting to reports of alleged surveillance of phones through WhatsApp.
Responding to Dhankhar’s remarks, the TMC wondered if he was working as a BJP representative. It also asked him reveal the names of people who were being snooped on.
“First, I want to ask him to name the people who have complained of their privacy being compromised here. They must all be from the BJP. Is his chair similar to the chair of a state BJP president? We are showing so much respect to him, but he is trying to be a political leader. This is unjust. He must first stand before the mirror and ask whether he is working as a BJP representative or as Governor of West Bengal. There can be differences of opinion between him and us, but that should be resolved within four walls. But he is making statements against the state government to annoy us wherever he is going. He will soon get irritated for doing this,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
On Kashmir, Dhankhar asked political parties not to politicise violence there.
“A big effort has been initiated to cure a 70-year-old disease in Kashmir. It is painful if someone indulges in politics over this issue. They must first look into their own states. I am pained when I see violence in the state of West Bengal…. and the violence perpetuated by political motive is reported by the media,” he said.
Chatterjee found holes in Dhankhar’s claim that Kashmir was peaceful.
“On one hand, it is being said that Kashmir is peaceful, and on the other, five labourers from Bengal were mercilessly killed there. We have demanded a proper investigation into it. Whatever we say, they question our patriotism. This type of statement (from Dhankhar) is surprising,” he said.
The Governor once again raised the Jiaganj triple murder issue and cautioned that it should be passed off as suicide.
“I have not reacted to individual episodes. I have highlighted the Murshidabad incident because it was an account of a teacher and his pregnant wife being killed. I am not concerned who killed him, why he was killed and what was the motive…. if it was a relative or someone else. What I said was I am pained because the investigation has to be fair. A murder cannot be converted into a suicide,” he said.
Bandhu Prakash Pal (40), his pregnant wife Beauty (30) and their son Angan (5) were found murdered at their home in Lebu Bagan of Jiaganj on October 8.
Governor Dhankhar on Sunday said that he was hurt for not being invited by the state government to the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) starting from November 8.
“The Governor so far has not been invited to a single state function. I happen to be the only governor in the entire country so far to whom the honorable chief minister did not greet on Diwali. The honorable prime minister went to the president (on Diwali). Let me tell you that I am hurt. An international film festival is happening, and so many countries are coming and your Governor is nowhere. Put yourself in my position, and you know what happens. This is not the way,” he said.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee termed Dhankhar’s complaint “childish”. “He is making childish comments. I don’t know what he is achieving by saying all this,” he said.
It may be noted that Dhankhar had attended the Durga Puja Carnival on Red Road on October 1 and spent more than two hours at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence on Kali Puja.