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Is Mamata wasting political capital by clashing with Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar?

Relations between West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have plummeted after the TMC government ordered that universities will no longer require the governor’s consent

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Relations between West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have plummeted after the TMC government ordered that universities will no longer require the governor’s consent, who is also the chancellor, to organise a senate meeting. TMC legislators protested Tuesday against Dhankhar for delaying important bills and called him an “agent of the BJP”.

ThePrint asks: Is Mamata wasting political capital by clashing with Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar? 

Not being able to combat BJP, Mamata’s TMC now training its guns on governor Jagdeep Dhankhar

Shishir Bajoria
State Executive Member, BJP

West Bengal has an unfortunate track record of the government getting in direct conflict with the governor. This dates back to the United Front government days led by the Left Front.

Mamata Banerjee government’s bonhomie with Jagdeep Dhankhar lasted only for the day he took oath. Since then, the government has been out to only attack him.

An unfortunate incident happened at Jadavpur University on 19 September when Union minister Babul Supriyo was heckled by the students.

Governor Dhankhar as the constitutional head of the state had no other option but to rush to Supriyo’s rescue. Thereafter, the governor requested for central protection but both these instances met with strong opposition from CM Mamata Banerjee. Even in her capacity as the CM, she has not trusted the state’s police force and has only remained loyal to her central protector (railway police).

Recently, Dhankhar was not able to enter the state assembly when the gate meant for the governor’s entry was blocked. I do not recollect this situation happening in any other state.

All these instances, including a West Bengal minister publicly asking the governor to remain within the ‘Lakshman Rekha’, shows that Mamata and her party are scared because they are rapidly losing ground to the BJP.

Not being able to combat the BJP, the TMC is now training its guns on the head of the state. The TMC’s departure in the 2021 West Bengal assembly election is confirmed.

Mamata Banerjee’s feud with Governor Dhankhar unbecoming. She should raise voice against NRC instead

Rajat Roy
Journalist and Political analyst 

It is true that relations between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar have become strained. But it is equally true that Dhankhar has been provoking the government and Mamata Banerjee has fallen into his trap.

At the same time, he hasn’t violated the Indian Constitution so the Mamata Banerjee government can’t accuse him of that.

The governor is also deliberating on whether there could be a conspiracy behind this. These situations have exposed the warring sides: Governor Dhankhar trying to provoke the government and the TMC government indulging in unbecoming activities.

There were some initial reservations on whether Dhankhar is an “agent of the BJP”. However, after the bypolls and amid growing anger against the NRC, no one is openly contemplating his relationship with the BJP.

The TMC is wary about Dhankhar because it doesn’t know which side the wind is blowing. The party has its eyes set on West Bengal’s 2020 municipal election.

West Bengal has had a long history of feuds between the governor and the chief minister. This is uncalled for and shows the party’s nervousness by aggressively questioning the governor and the ruling BJP at the Centre.

She should raise her voice against the NRC instead. There is widespread fear over the NRC and the Mamata Banerjee government could use this as a potent political tool to challenge the BJP.

BJP needed a face to counter Mamata. So, Jagdeep Dhankhar has a double role in West Bengal

Mohammad Salim
Politburo Member-CPI(M)

The real issues of West Bengal have been sidelined by the BJP and the TMC. They are ignoring the concerns of the common people. These two parties just want to make it a personality clash.

Earlier, CM Mamata Banerjee was at loggerheads with PM Narendra Modi and now she is challenging Governor Dhankhar. The BJP has downgraded the CM’s post. The BJP knew very well that it will gain from the anti-Mamata mood in Bengal, particularly in the urban and middle-class pockets of the state.

The BJP needed a face that could be projected in the media to counter Mamata. So, Jagdeep Dhankar is actually portraying a double role here. He is the governor and also the face of the clash with Mamata Banerjee.

These issues have also been hyped by the media. The media wants to be busy with these trivial concerns instead of highlighting important concerns like farmers’ issue. It is a mock fight.

She can take up state issues against the BJP leadership in New Delhi. But because of the CBI and ED cases, she can’t stand up against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. This has compelled her to fight Dhankhar instead.

In the past, Mamata’s political rise was dependent on the governor. The CPI knows that the governor’s office is an extension of the Central government. The Left’s position on this has been very clear since India’s independence that the Governor is an extension of the central government.

Governor Dhankhar wants to run his own parallel govt, pursue own agenda in Bengal

Partha Chatterjee
TMC Leader & Parliamentary Affairs Minister

I don’t understand why we have to use the word ‘clashing’ for describing the kind of relationship West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar share. Let there be peace, the TMC government will take all necessary steps required to exercise good governance. The governor will also exercise his powers as his expected from him as the constitutional head of West Bengal.

However, on many occasions, it seems like Governor Dhankhar is absolutely lost. He is very ambiguous in his stand on some key issues. He takes decisions without consulting with the chief minister or other leaders of the state government.

It almost seems like Governor Dhankhar wants to run his own parallel government in West Bengal. This is something that people and some TMC leaders are already talking about. If Dhankhar feels there are any unresolved issues, he can always take CM Mamata Banerjee into confidence.

But the prevailing circumstances give the impression that the governor is simply pursuing his own agenda, which is to disrupt the stability of the TMC government. I don’t think that it should be permissible.

Mamata and Dhankhar only pointing fingers at each other. But one can’t rule out possibility of President’s Rule in Bengal

Jayanta Ghosal
Political Editor, India TV

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to raise the question of whether Governor Dhankhar is exercising his powers within constitutional limits. Her target is the BJP and not the governor. This is also the reason why Mamata and her party’s leaders are trying to tell people that the governor is an “agent of the BJP”.

However, Dhankhar does at times behave like an agent. The Indian Constitution is modelled after the UK’s Constitution wherein the Queen, the constitutional head, is only a figurehead. This model is being violated in West Bengal.

The governor is also proactively attacking Mamata Banerjee. At the same time, whatever he is doing is still within the constitutional boundaries. They are both pointing fingers at each other.

I think that Mamata Banerjee is trying to inflate the issue. Whether she will get a political advantage out of this or not cannot be predicted yet. This will pick up its own momentum. I feel that both sides are trying to earn brownie points. Governor Dhankhar is also trying to make a mountain out of a molehill by attacking the TMC government.

In fact, there are speculations that this issue will further be ignited. Moreover, one can’t rule out the possibility of President’s Rule in West Bengal. This is the mood of the people because the Mamata-Dhankhar tussle has become an extremely polarised situation.

Also read:  Jagdeep Dhankhar isn’t first, Mamata has been on the warpath with every Bengal governor

By Kairvy Grewal, journalist at ThePrint 

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  1. Mamata “DIDI” has always got to hate someone and keep pouring venom on them. Now, she has just substituted the Governor for Modi, as she found Modi too hot to attack, and it boomeranged on her. This is easier, that’s all.

  2. This news is meat for the media,Similar media reports are seen in case of Union Territory of Pondicherry also..
    The Media are detailing the interface issues which conveys one way or other, leading to political
    interpretation of one kind or the other ,The political parties may not be intending-the same,
    The media can play an effective role if it can effectively portray what are the conventional,protocol or other
    constitutional provisions which are involved in the interface issues,
    Media should equip itself for such conflicting issues ,which are normal for a growing democratic Nation as ours.

  3. It would be in CM Mamata Banerjee’s own interest to accord the office the honour and respect it deserves. Raj Bhavans are sadly no longer neutral umpires, but the political battles can be fought elsewhere. In small matters like making the state government helicopter available, there should be no small heartedness. Bengal’s Governors were once Governor General and Viceroy.

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