Raj Bhavan and Writers’ Buildings seem to be on a collision course, with each firing salvos at the other.
The government today said it was “censuring” Governor M K Narayanan and dared him to sack the government. This came a day after Narayanan said that “goondaraj” was prevailing in the state.
The issue was the CPM-Trinamool Congress clash at Bhangar on January 8 that saw members of both parties injured and property damaged
Political observers could not recall such an incident where a minister of the state government had “censured” the constitutional head of government.
“We are borrowing a word (censure) from the CPM and censuring him and we are keeping a watch on the situation. In fact, we are showing him the yellow card now, and if he does not restrain himself we will show him the red card. He said ‘goondaraj’ was going on in the state. If he thinks so, why does he not sack this government? We challenge him, let him do it,’’ Subrata Mukherjee, minister for panchayats and rural development, said at Writers’ Buildings.
Later in the evening, asked about the remark at a function at Rabindra Sadan, the governor said, “I spoke as governor of the state and I stand by what I said.’’
Partha Chatterjee, minister for commerce and industries, however, performed a balancing act when he met the governor in the morning and gave him an invitation to preside over the closing ceremony of Bengal Leads, the industrial summit to be arranged by the state government at Haldia.
However, according to sources in the state government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took serious umbrage at the governor’s use of the phrase ‘goonda raj’ and it was reportedly at her behest that Mukherjee took such potshots at the governor.
Mukherjee also said what the governor said was absolutely unconstitutional. “What he said was unbecoming of a governor. He singled out one stray incident and made a most disparaging remark. He was an IPS officer and he should know his limits. He should have called officials and asked for reports. He should not have gone to the press. Law and order of a state is something elected people look after. It is sending confusing signals to the people who might think that he is doing this because he was selected by the Congress. The governor is the constitutional head. Had he been elected by people like we had been, he would have stayed in a small house, not a bungalow,’’ Mukherjee added.
Referring to the violence at Bhangar and the attack on former Left Front minister Abdur Rezzaq Mollah, Mukherjee said the CPM leader had also incited violence. “Every day Congress central ministers say there will be murders every week. If the governor wants we can send him reports.’’
When Mukherjee’s attention was drawn to the fact that former governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi too at times put the state government in the dock, the minister said. “Gandhi made the remark with respect to Nandigram where 14 people died in police firing. Has anything similar happened now?’’
The Congress stood by what Narayanan said. “While the state is burning, what the governor said was absolutely right,’’ Union minister of state for urban development Deepa Dasmunshi said.