Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday said he will be the first Governor of West Bengal born after Independence to address the state Assembly on the Budget session. He also clarified that he has every right to make suggestions to the state government in his budget speech.
Speaking to reporters after inaugurating a fair in Birbhum’s Santiniketan, Dhankhar said, “This will be the first time in history that a Governor who is born after Independence will address the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on the Budget session. So far, my distinguished, reputed and respected predecessors have addressed the state Assembly. But all of them were born before Independence. I am the first one born after Independence to address the Assembly under the Constitution.”
In the evening, a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said Dhankhar will address the West Bengal Legislative Assembly under Article 176 of the Constitution of India on February 7 at 2 pm. The statement added that suggestions made by the Governor as replacements/additions in his speech have been rejected by the state government.
The state Cabinet on Monday had ratified a draft of the Governor’s speech at the start of the Budget session on February 7 and sent it to him. However, sources said the Governor is not too pleased with the draft sent by the state government. Traditionally, the state Budget session begins with the Governor’s speech.
Asserting that he has the right to make suggestions in his speech, the Governor said, “The state government has the right to put its policies, achievements and ideas in the Governor’s speech. That address is duly approved by the state Cabinet and has been sent to me. I, also as the Governor and Constitutional head, have the right to make suggestions and give my inputs. I have examined the address, which has been sent to me… I have some suggestions and I made those suggestions.”
State minister and senior TMC leader Chandrima Bhattacharya, however, criticised the Governor for wanting to know about the Budget before it is tabled in the state Assembly. “As per my knowledge and experience, it does not concern a Governor of a state to interfere in the state Budget and seek its details before it is tabled. He is free to look into it once it is approved by the state cabinet and tabled in the state Assembly by the state finance minister. No member of the state Assembly is allowed to look into it, so the question of the Governor looking into it does not arise. Maybe he is more knowledgeable than us and that’s why making such comments. But he has been appointed to create a rift with the state government. The state government is working as per the Constitution and Parliamentary democracy,” said Bhattacharya.
Sources said the Governor has asked the state government to show him the Finance Bill before he could give his assent to it. Traditionally, the Governor gives his assent to the Finance bill without asking for details. With Dhankhar wanting otherwise, the state government has made it clear to him that it cannot show the Finance Bill before it gets tabled in Assembly.
The Finance Bill is slated to be tabled in the state Assembly on February 10.
Dhankhar Thursday said farmers in Bengal are being deprived of the benefits from Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. “The PM has done a lot for the farmers of the country. Under PM-KISAN yojna, about Rs 43,000 crore has reached to the bank accounts of farmers across the country. This has been done without any advertisement or anyone’s photos. About 70 lakh farmers in Bengal are deprived of this benefit. It is their right to get such benefits. Why about Rs 4,000 crore could not be sent to these farmers? Who comes in between the farmers and their benefits from PM-KISAN?” Dhankhar said while addressing people while inaugurating a fair in Santiniketan.
The Mamata Banerjee government has not implemented (PM-KISAN) yojna as it runs its own social welfare ‘Krishak Bandhu’ scheme for farmers.
“I appeal with folded hands that we must not do injustice to farmers. There must not be any politics in this regard. If Rs 4,000 crore is sent to farmers here, then it will change their economic and social status,” Dhankhar added.
Reacting to his comments, state Agriculture Minister Asish Bandyopadhyay said, “It is unfortunate that the Governor has made such comments. He is not aware of the condition of our farmers who have received all kinds of benefits and assistance from the state government.”
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