A file photo of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. | Photo: ANI
A file photo of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. | Photo: ANI
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Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government is “outsourced” to a private agency and that’s “a dangerous trend”, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said.

In an exclusive interview to ThePrint, the governor said the West Bengal government was “ill equipped” to manage a natural calamity like Cyclone Amphan, and that the Covid-19 outbreak exposed the state’s inefficient health infrastructure.

Dhankhar has had a tense relationship with the Mamata government since he took over last July.

Highlighting that members and leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) are continuously heckling him, he said, “In Bengal, heckling the governor has become a habit. People were hired to do these, they are being remote controlled. Can a government be outsourced? It is a dangerous trend.”

This is the first time that the governor has launched a veiled attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s poll strategist Prashant Kishor.

“It pains my heart to see the Twitter handles of senior politicians be remote-controlled… The chief minister is a nice person. But she should act as the general, not as a soldier,” Dhankhar said.

Dhankhar said he was in touch with many senior TMC leaders who confided in him about their social media handles being taken over by “private agencies”. Calling it an “open secret”, the governor said the agencies are “breaking the spine of these senior politicians”. 

“This is an open secret. Got it from the horse’s mouth… I am in touch with most of those politicians. Paid people are let loose to take on the constitutional head (Dhankhar). Some good healthy young minds are being made sick by these agencies. Indian democracy is being polluted by them,” he said.


Also read: States bat for ‘very targeted’ lockdown in worst-hit cities after fourth phase ends Sunday


On Covid-19 and Amphan

Talking about the Covid-19 crisis in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “As a Governor, it is my responsibility to stand with the government when it is facing a crisis. But I must say that Covid-19 has exposed us.”

As of Friday morning, the state has recorded 4,536 Covid cases and 295 deaths.

“The state has inadequate health infrastructure. It is difficult for an ordinary person to get medical assistance. Had the state decided to be a part of (Modi government’s) Ayushman Bharat, things would have been easier,” he said.

Last week, Dhankhar set a precedent when he attended the review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 22 May in Basirhat. CM Mamata Banerjee was also present.

After the meeting, Banerjee asked the Modi government to declare Cyclone Amphan a “national disaster”.

Reacting to this demand, Dhankhar told ThePrint, “The state is suffering like never before. But there should be some background work… she should have given something in writing. Demands should be made to authorities. During Covid-19 outbreak, our credibility was lowest in terms of presenting figures.”

The governor added that West Bengal was “ill-equipped” to handle the aftermath of Amphan, which devastated several parts of the state, including Kolkata, on 20 May.

“The government was alerted by the IMD (India Meteorological Department) days before Amphan hit us. Should not the government be ready with its essential services?” Dhankhar asked.

“They could have prepared a contingency plan. But now, when people are in miserable condition, the private power operator and the government are indulging into ‘tu tu main main’ (war of words). It took three days to call in the Army. The delay could have been avoided,” he added.


Also read: Mamata seeks PM Modi’s intervention, urges Centre to not pursue politics in times of crisis


 

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4 Comments Share Your Views

4 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Governor I agree bengal government has lot of setbacks but as well as she is doing her best for Bengal than Gujrat, U. P etc. you can’t ignore that. About outsourcing, what central government is doing. Wait & see central government will outsources Governor also. When you criticise neutrality should be there.

    • less or more corona doesn’t give certificate as a good cm..if so..then u must admit among top 5 staes there is only 1 bjp ruled state…and opposition like kejri, congress and allies are a total mess…..and u will also admit then that Bihar is well managed than bengal…major reason is she is is continuous loggerhead with centre and no other states does that, be it opposition…she is only pulling bengal way back by her silly attitude…

  2. The Bengalees in their majority claim to be highly cultured. When was the first university created ? 1819. The same goes with the bank, museums, art schools, hospitals. news paper etc etc.
    Spitting is a popular habit to the extent that you find Do Not Spit printed in the walls of Govt offices , hospitals in BENGALI.
    To have a comparison the first university of Spain is from Palencia of 1264. Isabel the queen had no wifi in 16th century but knew where was the enemy concentrated. She was born in a small village . I bet you have no historian in whole of Bengal to follow the details. like,”al enemigo, puente de plata.” ( Silver bridge for the enemy ).

  3. What a sham and shame!
    To think we pay tax to such governments who have off loaded their responsibilities to private shady dealers making crores of money each day!!!.
    And what management inefficiency in a government that boasts of a former Chairman of National Instt of Personnel Mgmt [Rt. Hon’ble Shri Partha Chatterjee, ex NIPM] and a Delhi School of Economics level headed Finance Minister [Rt. Hon’ble Shri Moitra]!!! They are Two stalwarts who are expected to understand issues with clarity and act pragmatically. And advice their CM too. And they know nothing of all this that a Constitutional Head now tells the public?
    The Governor cannot be faulted for his words and assessment. Any sane person, including balance minded Editor of PRINT would have opined the same. But what action now? O do we see repeat of last 70 years loot continuing?
    Bad times. Real, real bad times and we are all ending up in a rat hole created by our COMRADOR RULING ELITE. Bottomless Pit.
    The IB, CID, RAW should trace these looters hiding behind a shield of state protection immediately. Before we all die, at least let them be hanged?

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