Kolkata: The West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose arrived in New Delhi late Thursday night, hours after he said “Joy Bangla” (victory to Bengal) on stage in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He is likely to meet Vice President and former Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the national capital.
While the Trinamool Congress claims it’s a scheduled meeting, the Bharatiya Janata Party says the summons came amid the latest bonhomie with the ruling Trinamool government in West Bengal.
“The governor has a constitutional role, his closeness with the TMC is almost blurring the lines between Raj Bhavan and TMC office. We have faced similar allegations in the past and now we can see how the tables have turned,” former Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta told ThePrint.
Not too long ago, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Raj Bhavan (Kolkata) crossed swords. But today, that equation has completely changed with the advent of C.V. Ananda Bose.
Unlike his predecessor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Bose has a cordial relationship with Mamata Banerjee that has irked the BJP, which was accused by the TMC of turning Raj Bhavan into a party office during Dhankhar’s regime.
After the oath-taking ceremony, the senior officials who worked closely with Dhankhar were transferred out of Raj Bhavan. This included the aides-de-camp (ADCs), both from the Army and the Indian Police Service. The Additional Chief Secretary who worked with Dhakhar was transferred to the Vice President’s office, and a new Principal Secretary was posted in Kolkata. With new officials, Raj Bhavan (Kolkata) has begun a fresh chapter but not without a faceoff; only this time, it’s the BJP that hasn’t been able to get along.
‘BJP was acting out of jealousy’
On the occasion of Saraswati Puja in West Bengal on 26 January, the Governor expressed his wish to formally learn Bengali with the traditional Hate Khori, where one writes the first alphabets in Bangla after seeking blessings from the goddess of knowledge.
Grand preparations were made at Raj Bhavan by the state, with invites sent out to dignitaries and politicians. During Dhankhar’s regime, barring the oath-taking ceremonies, the remaining programmes at Raj Bhavan would be organised by the officials working with the Governor, with invites being directly sent from Raj Bhavan, but this time, they were sent out from the State Secretariat.
Just hours before the ceremony, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, said in a Tweet that he wouldn’t be attending the event at Raj Bhavan. In a long post, while praising the efforts of the governor to learn the Bengali language, he said the entire ceremony had been “exploited” by the state government. “At a time when the education department of West Bengal has been tarnished, due to cash for jobs and the former education minister languishing in jail, the state government orchestrated this event to wash off the stain.”
Even going on to take on the chief minister, Adhikari said, “the guest in chief is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who has time and again expressed her unreasonable opinion that the post of the governor should be abolished. She is the queen-pin of the corruption which infested the education department.”
However, his wish has been exploited by the state government for political posturing. Nandini Chakravorty (IAS), principal secretary to the governor, is acting as a ‘special’ emissary of the state government.
But this didn’t dampen the event; the governor wrote his first Bangla alphabet and even raised the “Joy Bangla” slogan that the chief minister herself uses at every public event. The governor has also decided to donate his first salary to four talented students of West Bengal to assist in their education. Mamata Banerjee handed over two copies of ‘Barnaparichay,’ the book of alphabets written by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, to Bose.
Dasgupta said, “It is a good sign that the constitutional head and elected head have a cordial tie. The governor is learning Bengali, which is great. He is posted here. But it has an underlying political message that everything is great in the education system here and that’s not true.” He added that this is a stunt, and the governor shouldn’t fall prey. “This is not a pensioner’s paradise. He was part of the post-poll violence inquiry committee. He knows how complex West Bengal is. This is a playacting, and the governor shouldn’t participate in it.”
The Trinamool Congress, however, said the BJP was acting out of jealousy.
“The BJP made Raj Bhavan its party office during Dhankhar’s tenure. Where was the respect then? The BJP is jealous that the governor is learning Bengali and the people of the state are paying their good wishes to him. Suvendu Adhikari has insulted the governor by skipping the ceremony and through his statement,” Ghosh added.
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