In the wake of criticism from the ruling Trinamool Congress and state ministers, who have accused him of being “politically biased”, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday said that he “would not hesitate to protect the Constitution”.
Speaking at 188th annual general meeting of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, the Governor said: “I have no agenda at all. I will live by my oath. My oath is to uphold the Constitution, protect the Constitution and serve the people of West Bengal. That is a part of my oath. In doing that I will not hesitate. If I hesitate, then I will be outraging my oath and I will not.”
Dhankhar’s remarks come days after state minister and TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had hit out at Dhankhar, saying “the new Governor has exposed himself of not being a neutral person within 15 days of joining by making politically-biased statements against the government”.
The ruling party has been unhappy with the Governor since last Thursday’s ruckus at Jadavpur University in which Dhankhar had gone to escort Union minister and BJP MP Babul Supriyo who was gheraoed by Left students’ union. The TMC government had then said that the Governor did not pay heed to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s advice against going to the university campus.
Referring to the Jadavpur incident, Dhankhar said that he was “ready to take a bullet in his chest” to solve any issues concerning between the state universities and the state government.
“I wear another hat also. Some people call it an uncomfortable hat. That is being the chancellor of a number of universities. That is not uncomfortable. Merely because there is something wrong somewhere does not mean we shut our eyes. Before coming here I had called the vice-chancellor, pro vice-chancellors and registrar of Jadavpur University. They are confident to bring about good results. I told them to take your own time, put your strategies in place and seek the assistance of former vice-chancellors. If there is an issue with the government, I will take the bullet in my chest… But if we say we can’t solve this, then that will be an injustice to future generations of Kolkata and West Bengal,” he said.
The Governor also praised the Trinamool Congress government, saying that there has been development in West Bengal under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “Under the present chief minister, development is taking place. Even when I went to Siliguri, I found good roads and development. When I went to that Convention Centre (in New Town), I was delighted and it was the best in India. The first thing I did was I sent a message to the Chief Minister saying that this centre is an amazing work and I am told it has been done by you,” Dhankhar added.
He also said that there was a need to regain the last glory of Kolkata and West Bengal. “The heights which West Bengal and Kolkata had, we need to regain it. Britishers have ruled from Rashtrapati Bhavan for less than the half time they ruled from Raj Bhavan here. This Raj Bhavan has a great legacy. It is a reminder that Calcutta has power, potential, culture, history, literature and everything. We need to reinvent our talent. We need to rediscover the glory of Kolkata,” he added.