Estd. 2006
“Bengal is being run by a private agency”

                                                                                                                              Ankur Bhattacharya

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar made some serious allegations against the State government and alleged that it was being run by a private agency which was also controlling the Twitter accounts of several MPs and ministers of the ruling Trinamool Congress. 

According to him, the recent spate of offensive and aggressive Tweets including some with political overtones against the post of the governor, were often being issued without the consent of the concerned ruling party leaders. In an exclusive interview to the country’s largest multi lingual news agency Hindusthan Samachar in a webinar/ video conferencing, the Governor said, “It is an open secret that extra constitutional power in West

Bengal was now handed over to an outside agency and all ministers and senior government officials were asked to remain silent and report to an ‘outsider’. All their Twitter handles and other social media platforms were being controlled and handled by someone else, he said. Without naming anyone, Dhankar stated that many MPs of the ruling party had personally apologised to him and claimed that those were not their views.

“I do not mind when I foul words are used against me but when attempts are made to control the entire Government I feel it is a dangerous sign. But I am not afraid of it and shall do my best,” he said. Asked about his extensive use of social media platform and several press conferences at Raj Bhavan unlike all his predecessors here, which many felt was against the protocol of the Governor, Dhankar said  only few people questioned his way of functioning.

“Otherwise a vast majority of people express their helplessness and feel if they comment anything in favour of Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, they would be hounded by the police. We are passing through a very difficult time,” he said. The Governor also expressed his dismay over the recent instance of ‘inhuman behaviour’ with a number of dead bodies at a crematorium in the city. He felt that in view of the gruesome nature of the incident, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee herself should apologise to the people. Dhankar who gave his opinion on a number of issues, underscored the need for holding peaceful, free and fair corporation/ municipal and state Assembly elections by next year.

"I shall ensure it with all constitutional power at my disposal’, the Governor said. Replying to a query that as a Governor he had changed the meaning of his position as the Constitutional head of the state through his close interactions with the common people by extensively using his Twitter handle, which in turn might have led the ruling Trinamool Congress to feel insecure, Dhankar said he had taken the oath of the Constitution to serve the people of West Bengal and he was committed to fulfil all his obligations.

‘I am neither a puppet of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee nor anybody in New Delhi’, he said and reiterated his conviction to work as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution. "I am a soldier of the people,' he said. He said he would never remain silent on the issue of corruption and suggested that the state government officials must work within the Constitution. 'I myself have never violated my constitutional power and would never turn a blind eye towards the performance of the state government officials as  political party leaders’, the Governor said. Asked if he was satisfied with the reply of the City Municipal Commissioner Vivek Kumar who met him at Raj Bhavan to explain a viral video showing that several dead bodies were treated in inhuman manner at a crematorium in the city, the Governor, however, stood by the professional ability of the officials and said they could be termed as among the best in the country.

But at the same time, he said, politics was the prime hurdle in the development of the state. ‘When I first came to know about the horrific incident on June 10, I could not believe my eyes. We Indians pay our homage and respect to the dead. But disrespect to the bodies was unimaginable and unthinkable,’ he said and regretted that not once but such treatment was meted out to bodies several times. ‘As soon as I came to know about the incident I sought an explanation from the state Home Secretary Alapon Bandopadhyay who claimed that none of those bodies was that of Covid -19 patients and that the video on the social media was fake. I was not satisfied with his reply and demanded further explanation.

But I am yet to get any reply from the state government,’ the Governor stated. He however said the Municipal Commissioner had given an explanation that it was a mistake on the part of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. It may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court too had expressed deep concern over the issue and sought a report from the State Government in this regard.

Dhankar also slammed the new administrator of KMC Firhad Hakim, for his failure to properly handle post Amphan situation in the city. ‘He (Firhad Hakim) and Chief minister Mamata Banerjee must apologise to the people and restore the severely dented image of the state,’ the Governor stated. Stating that West Bengal was currently passing through three major crises – Amphan impact, Corona virus and the migrant workers crisis, the Governor said it was unfortunate that the Chief Minister had termed the Shramik Special trains for migrants as ‘Corona Express’.

Alleging that several false cases were being filed against the opposition workers and leaders in the state, Dhankar called it an Emergency like situation when they were not allowed to distribute relief to the affected people while the ruling party leaders could move freely. About the recent Tweets of TMC MP Mohua Moitra raising questions over alleged irregularities in the use of Panchayat funds and its activities, Dhankar said though he did not want any conflict in the democratic systems of the country, he was pained to see that the there was no improvement in the condition of farmers in the state as the government had refused to take any assistance from the Centre in this regard.

Municipal authorities must also rise to the occasion and ensure that all such benefits reach the people, the Governor pointed out.

KOLKATA, June 17 2020