West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday did not deviate from the written speech prepared by the state government for his address to the state assembly at the beginning of the budget session, and said “intolerance, bigotry and hatred” are the “new norms in the country”.
Dhankhar, in his speech, also said rejection of all forms of dissent is the “new fashion in the name of patriotism”.
His sticking to the written speech averted any chance of a showdown with the government.
Dhankhar had said on Thursday that he would “create history” with his address, setting off speculations that he could speak, like before, against the TMC government.
He had also said that as the constitutional head of the state, he had given his suggestions and hoped those would be incorporated in his speech.
According to norms, the governor reads out the speech prepared by the state government enunciating its policy decisions at the start of the budget session.
“At present our country is at a critical juncture. The basic values and principles of our Constitution are under challenge…Spreading misinformation is the order of the day and rejection of all forms of dissent is the new fashion in the name of patriotism,” Dhankhar said while reading out from the written text.
Dhankhar condoled “the tragic loss of innocent lives” in the country because of panic over the proposed nationwide NRC.
“There is a general air of intolerance, bigotry and hatred that is straining the variegated thread of unity tying together all the linguistic, religious and ethnic diversities in the country,” he said.
Before adopting any drastic measures, all sections of people must be taken into confidence. “The state government is strongly against division of people in the name of steps like National Population Register (NPR), NRC or CAA,” he said.
The TMC legislators were seen donned in anti-CAA, NRC T-shirts, badges and aprons during his address.
After his speech, Dhankhar met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay at the latter’s chamber in the Assembly premises.
The governor had said on Wednesday that he might make changes to the speech, drawing sharp reactions from the ruling Trinamool Congress which said he was “deliberately trying to create problems”.
“I will act as per the Constitution,” he had said, adding that he would never cross the “Lakshman Rekha”.
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