West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of repeatedly interfering in the functioning of the state administration, and asked him to judge who has "crossed the limit of constitutional dharma and decency" between the two constitutional functionaries. Banerjee's letter comes in the backdrop of Dhankhar repeatedly voicing concern over the way the state government has been tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a strongly worded five-page letter to the governor, Banerjee said Dhankhar has forgotten that she is the "elected chief minister of a proud Indian state" whereas he is a nominated governor.
"You have to judge for yourself, whether your direct attacks on me, my ministers, officers, your tone, tenor and language, which in mildest words of extreme moderation, deserve to be characterized as parliamentary, your holding press conferences against the state government of which you are a governor, your repeated and consistent interference in the administration of my ministries make it clear as to who has flagrantly transgressed constitutional dharma.... she
wrote. Banerjee claimed the governors conduct does not conform to even basic norms of decency between constitutional functionaries.
Dhankhar was quick to respond, tweeting, "A communication @MamataOfficial has been received. Outrageously factually wrong and constitutionally infirm. Recognised Non Resident Bengali Doctors have in an eye opener representation flagged concern? @MamataOfficial in COVID 19 battle. Worrisome issues flagged 1. Gross under-testing in West Bengal, and 2. Misreporting of data on the cause of death in COVID-19 patients, he said in an earlier tweet.
Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the TMC government over a number of issues since assuming charge in July last year. The feisty leader, while referring to his text message and communications said the tone, tenor, and language was unprecedented.
Terming Dhankhar's statement in the audiovisual media "to warn her" an "unprecedented event", Banerjee said, the governor continues to ignore all advice and inputs given by her and the council of ministers since his appointment.
"Your expostulation leaves me with no option but to release these letters in the public domain to leave it to the people of this state and of this nation to judge for themselves as to who has done what and who in breach of elementary norms of constitutional behavior," she said, annexing a two-page letter from Dhankhar where he had castigated her government.