KOLKATA: The opening session of the newly constituted West Bengal Assembly last week got off to a stormy start as Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was forced to cut short his inaugural speech amid ruckus by opposition BJP MLAs who took offence after finding “no mention” of post-poll violence in the address.
The Governor arrived at the Assembly and was received by Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay. He started reading out the address and skipped the middle portion of it. While concluding, Dhankhar read out the portion where it was mentioned that a section of the group in society is trying to divide people of Bengal and obstructing the state government’s beneficiary schemes, and that’s when the BJP legislators started shouting. Dhankhar could barely speak for four minutes as BJP MLAs, carrying posters and pictures of alleged victims of post-poll violence, rushed to the well of the House to stage a protest. To counter them, TMC MLAs, too, shouted denying BJP’s allegations.
According to the Assembly sources, the Governor began his speech at 2 pm and ended it at 2.04 pm, as his voice became inaudible. Amid sloganeering, Dhankhar tabled the speech after reading a few lines from an 18-page address approved by the state Cabinet. “There was no mention of post-poll violence in the Governor’s speech which happened after the counting of the election results. Surprisingly, in the draft, it was mentioned that there was no post-poll violence in Bengal. We felt that it may be possible that he was saddened with the content of the speech drafted by the CM and that is why he cut short his speech,’’ said Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari. On June 28, after returning from his north Bengal trip, Dhankhar said he had requested the CM to make changes to the speech but she turned down the proposal saying it was approved by her cabinet.
"If they write anything in the address which is unconstitutional... will I read that? Every address has to conform to constitutional parameters and boundaries," Dhankhar had said. Mamata accused Dhankhar of being a "corrupt man"; "This governor's name was in the Jain Hawala case. But they have cleared it from the court. There is a PIL. But the PIL is pending. What you want to know? He is a corrupt man, I am sorry to say," she said. For his part, in May, moments after Mamata took oath for the third time, the governor chose to raise the violence and reminded her of her duty to control law and order in the state.