The spat between the West Bengal Raj Bhavan and the Mamata Banerjee government intensified on Thursday, with Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi sternly asking the state’s ruling party to stop throwing mud at the Governor’s office and the Trinamool Congress complaining about him to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Coming down heavily on the Banerjee government, Tripathi advised it to carry out an introspection of its own actions.
“Enough harsh words have been said. They should stop throwing mud on the office of the Governor. They should go to the washroom, look at their faces in the mirror and remove those dirt from their faces,” Tripathi said in response to state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee’s charge that the Governor had flouted the Constitution.
In New Delhi, a delegation of the Trinamool Congress comprising 30 MPs met Rajnath Singh and complained against Tripathi’s “direct interference” in the state’s administrative affairs, party leader Derek O’Brien said.
The delegation also gave a memorandum to the Home Minister, who O’Brien said had promised to look into the matter.
“The Governor of West Bengal has called a meeting of district-level officials and police to review the working of development schemes of the state government and the central government, working of NGOs in rural areas and the law and order situation in the district of Murshidabad and bordering areas,” the Trinamool submitted in the memorandum.
“The meeting is sought to be conducted without the knowledge of the state government. Since law and order and other issues are exclusively within the domain of the state government, it is expected that a constitutional authority will not bypass its jurisdiction in this manner,” they told Rajunath Singh.
They said that interfering in the functioning of the state administration was a “threat to the federal structure of our polity” and urged the Home Minister to resolve the issue.
“Our colleague Sukhendu Shekhar Roy carried a copy of Constitution along and read out relevant portions to the Home Minister. He has given us an assurance. So, we will wait,” O’Brien said.
The controversy erupted on February 6, when the Trinamool attacked the Governor after the Additional Chief Secretary to Tripathi wrote a letter to the Malda Divisional Commissioner asking him to hold a meeting on administrative matters.
The Trinamool accused the Governor of violating the federal structure by bypassing the state government and its MPs tried to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha forcing adjournments.
Chatterjee, who is also Trinamool Secretary General, on Wednesday condemned Tripathi’s move as “unconstitutional” and claimed the Governor had “tarnished his post” by writing the letter.