Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) In a scathing attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday accused her of trying to “deliberately divert” people’s attention from her “abject failure” in combating and containing the coronavirus outbreak and acting in “utter disregard” of the Constitution, besides being “explicit” in “appeasement” of the minority community.
Penning a harsh letter — the strong language used being somewhat unusual in official communication, that too from a governor to a chief minister — Dhankhar alleged that Banerjee’s “cover up”mechanism” with relation to the Covid-19 pandemic “would lead to very painful results” and called her overall approach “anti-people”.
“I know the mismanagement of Covid-19 combat is virtually in incremental mode given your unfortunate stance to be ‘law unto oneself’ and to be in a bravado mode of collision,” said Dhankhar in the lengthy missive that came in response to Banerjee’s letter where she accused Dhankhar of directly attacking her and the state ministers and interfering in the administration of state ministries and departments.
“Firmly” disowning Banerjee’s accusations, Dhankhar said her communication was “bereft of any factual premise” and did not indicate a “single concrete instance”.
Dhankhar had on Thursday night sent a reply to Banerjee’s letter where he alleged that her constant refrain of governor being “nominated” was “lamentable” and could be ascribed only to “elementary ignorance” of the Constitution.
He also charged Banerjee with having “black holed” all his communications thereby negating Articles 166and 167 of the Constitution and claimed there has been an “outrageous, flagrant violation of constitutional prescriptions and rules of business” at her end.
On Friday, Dhankhar’s tone was even more aggressive.
“I can figure out that your entire strategy is crafted to deliberately divert people’s attention from your abject failure in combating and containing Coronavirus in West Bengal. Your appeasement of the minority community was so explicit and awkward.
“Painfully your actions have been in utter disregard of the constitution,” he said.
“Surely I cannot be fiddling in Raj Bhawan when people of the state are stressed. I cannot turn ‘Nelson’s eye’ to serious issues of distressed people,” said the Governor.
Referring to the state’s second Chief Minister B.C. Roy, the governor mentioned how the departed leader would have connected to and empathised with the people with honesty, integrity and commitment and rued how those were being missed.
“Imagine what Dr BC Roy and the like would have done today, to combat Covid!… Surely no coercive route! No violations of human rights! No politicking! No loot of public funds! No PDS politicization and scam!”
Asking Banerjee to reflect on the welfare of the people, he said: “Your stance on these issues is at the unacceptable other end, and revisitation will be in public interest.”
Pulling up Banerjee for “ignoring this sane advice” of doctors, he said: “Nationally and globally our actions on this count are putting us to shame. Why iron curtain for ground real time data or situation!”
“How worrisome – ours is the only State where Central Teams whose only role is affirmative and in aid of the State, are made to face unwholesome scenario – in all other states it was seamless.
“Your cover up ‘mechanism’ would lead to very painful results. Banning of mobile phones inside Isolation Wards is a case in point. Time to reveal the real picture so that our fight against the coronavirus may be enhanced and sharpened,” he said.
He asked Banerjee to “disable” her political antennae, “shun confrontationist approach and be in action mode”.
The governor, who has had constant run-ins with the state government ever since he came to Bengal last July, claimed he has ignored “any number of indignities heaped on me by you in particular, including on the sacred floor of the Assembly”.
“There awaits the catastrophe, if the health care system is persistently ignored; if the Covid cases incessantly coming to the hospitals are consistently denied and suppressed, if the quarantine facilities remain for name sake, if the tests are not allowed honestly, if the frontline health workers are treated inhumanly by not providing them quality PPE and protection from the hooligans;
“If the medical procurements in this monumental crisis is allowed to be mired in malpractices, if the already politicized PDS is thrown open for wild loot by the unscrupulous people, if the state fails in preparing a lockdown exit policy and if the stranded people are left lurching into uncertainty,” he said.
Dhankhar alleged that people of the state are “suffering and dying of Covid-19 and hunger”, and berated Banerjee for seeking to cover up “monumental failures” in these challenging times by series of “blunders”.
“People of the state are suffering untold miseries, media is muzzled, health warriors are stressed and there is virtual suspension of human rights of those not belonging to your party. Emasculation of the administration and police has reached pinnacle as a consequence of their politicisation,” he said.
Taking a dig at Banerjee for hitting the streets every day during the Covid 19 pandemic, Dhankhar said: “Let me indicate in times of such gigantic crisis ‘street fighter approach’ is counter productive and has potential to spell disaster for the people.
“Please ask those who may pick courage to show the mirror — how sagacious is it for CM to take mike and broom day after day in this grim situation. Real time action and effective governance are need of the hour — not theatrics or politicking.”
Dhankhar said Banerjee’s “unconstitutional confrontationist mode” against the Governor as also the central government is indicative of ‘Law unto Oneself’ or ‘Stand Alone’ approach.
“Surely this is antithetical to democracy and you practice it. As a painful consequence of this 70,00,000 ‘kishans’ have lost about seven thousand crores”.
Refering to Banerjee taking to the streets for days, “virtually abandoning governance”, to sustain the Anti-CAA movement, Dhankhar said “Crores of rupees were used from the state exchequer for advertisements supportive of your political stance. Such diversion of public funds has been called by many as “loot of the treasury”.