Outgoing West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Saturday criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “appeasement policy”, stating in an interview to PTI that it is adversely affecting social harmony in the state. Later in the evening, speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event here, Tripathi said he was misinterpreted.
The Trinamool Congress hit back, saying the Governor is trying to make the BJP happy. Calling it a “misinterpretation of what I have said”, Tripathi told the media: “I have always spoken about restoring law and order. Why should anyone be embarrassed to talk about the real situation? I have also praised her (Mamata). She has vision.”
Tripathi will be replaced by Jagdeep Dhankhar, who will be sworn in as the new West Bengal Governor on July 30. Earlier in the day, Tripathi told PTI: “Her policy of appeasement has the effect of adversely affecting societal harmony. I think she should look at every citizen equally. I believe every citizen of West Bengal should be dealt with equally without discrimination. Discrimination is apparent, and her statements show it.”
Tripathi, who had earlier engaged in a war of words with the CM on various issues, said Banerjee should show restraint on her emotions. “CM Mamata Banerjee has vision, she has power to implement her decisions, but she should also be restrained. She becomes sentimental on occasions, so she has to keep control,” he told PTI.
State Education Minister and TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said: “Generally I do not make an adverse comment on a statement made by the Governor… Sometimes he said something or gave us advice. But he never told us that law and order has broken down, or there is an appeasement policy. It is to be seen why he is saying such things now. This will not add to the honour of his position. We used to say Raj Bhavan has become a BJP office. It seems we were right. He is saying this to make BJP happy.”
The CPI(M) and Congress backed Tripathi’s statement, bu questioned the timing.
“His tenure is over now. We believe what is said is partially true. We believe that a competitive communal politics is going on in Bengal. Banerjee through her appeasement policies is making way for BJP to bring communal politics in Bengal,” said senior CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty.
Former Congress state president Pradip Bhattacharya said, “If he had spoken earlier or given a strict message to the state government, it would have been better. We did not see him taking any strong step or even oppose the state government.” But, he added, “The Governor is absolutely right. He had been highlighting the issue when there were riots in Bashirhat and Asansol. The government and CM targeted him on various occasions.”