Kolkata: In kicking up a fresh row with the Trinamool Congress government, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that he felt “insulted” by the treatment meted out to him at “Puja Carnival”, a cultural programme organised by the state government in Kolkata last week. Dhankhar said: “I felt insulted at the (Puja) Carnival. I am deeply hurt and disturbed. The insult was not only to me but to every people of West Bengal.”
Sources said that the Governor felt hurt as the live feed from the government-appointed agency as well as television channels did not show him. His view was also obstructed many times. While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several foreign delegates and members of film industry and industrialists were present at one part of the stage, the Governor was made to sit in a separate part during the two-hour programme, in which over 70 Durga Pujas committees in and around Kolkata took out colourful processions.
“The treatment deeply pained me. For four hours, the first citizen was there and for not a second I was shown. The first servant was blacked out. You cannot have that kind of intolerance... Someone called me and said this is reminiscent of Emergency,” said the Governor, adding that it took him “three days to recover from the pain”. “I was put in a place from where I could not see a single live programme,” Dhankhar said.
“You may ask why I did not speak about it for the last three days... Please judge me harshly. But also judge others, too. Bengal is the fountain in the world’s culture, yet why this uncultured behaviour was meted out to me?” Dhankhar said. While the BJP backed the Governor, accusing the government of “showing intolerance”, the ruling Trinamool Congress dubbed Dhankhar’s comments as “unfortunate” and “unbecoming” of the constitutional head of the state.
“It is unfortunate that he (Dhankhar) made such a comment. I was there at the function and what I saw was that a separate stage was dedicated to the Governor. His statements are unbecoming of the high position he holds,” said Tapas Roy, TMC Legislative Party leader in the Assembly.
State BJP secretary Sayantan Basu, on the other hand, said: “The Governor’s statement shows that there is an Emergency in West Bengal. There is no respect for constitutional positions. Intolerance is speaking in the state.” State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said: “He is the constitutional head of our state. He deserves proper respect. But the state government has humiliated him. This is very unfortunate.”
This is the latest in the series of face-offs between Dhankhar and the TMC government since he was appointed the Governor in July. The Governor had to face severe criticism from the ruling TMC after he went to Jadavpur University to rescue Union minister Babul Supriyo when protesting students manhandled and tried to stop him from leaving the campus.