State Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim talks to Atri Mitra about Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s recent criticism of the state government, including allegations of a PDS scam.
What is your opinion on the Governor’s remarks at a time the state government is fighting against the spread of COVID-19 in Bengal?
When Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is appealing everyone to fight the coronavirus unitedly, and the Prime Minister is appealing in the same tune, the vindictive attitude of the Governor [Jagdeep Dhankhar] is discouraging thousands of people who are with the Chief Minister at the time of this crisis. It is not clear if the constitutional position is being used on behest of a political party.
The Governor has criticised the state government for allegedly putting BJP MPs under house arrest. Your reaction?
The BJP MPs themselves have broken the ethics of the lockdown. One MP returned from Delhi. Instead of staying in quarantine for 14 days, he directly went to his constituency. More or less, all BJP leaders are doing the same.
The Governor has spoken about a “PDS scam”. Your response?
With all due respect, I challenge the honourable Governor to show me a single case of corruption in the ration system in which the Trinamool Congress or anyone attached to the party is involved. Because of the lockdown, there may be some problems in the distribution system, but that is not corruption.
The Chief Minister herself took strict action against the department and its secretary after coming to know of some problems from the public. The government is trying hard to normalise the rationing system to fulfil the commitment of the Chief Minister.
The Governor and the Opposition have alleged that the state government has not tested enough, is suppressing facts and mishandling the situation.
The government has no intention of suppressing facts. The Governor and the BJP are singing the same tune. Why should the government hide facts? It is fighting the pandemic along with the people, and whatever remedies are being taken are by the government and not the Governor. The government is not receiving any sort of support from the Centre.
Trinamool Congress MPs have talked about lodging a complaint against Dhankhar in the Lok Sabha, accusing him of being partisan. Your thoughts?
In a democratic process, MPs have to act according to whatever the party feels. Not only the government or the party, entire West Bengal thinks the Governor is acting in a partisan manner.
On numerous occasions, the Governor has refused to sign Bills, forcing Assembly sessions to end abruptly…
The only role of our honourable Governor is to satisfy the honourable Home Minister of India. To do that, and carry out the instructions of the BJP, the Governor is doing the same again and again.
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