West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday visited post-poll violence-affected areas in Dinhata, Cooch Behar inviting a sharp backlash from the ruling Trinamool Congress. Dhankhar was shown black flags and had to face sloganeering during his visit to the district.
Talking to reporters after a group of protesting people blocked the way of his cavalcade, Dhankhar targeted Mamata Banerjee-led state government over what he described as 'total collapse of rule of law'.
"This is total collapse of rule of law. I could have never imagined this. I have seen the fear of Police in the eyes of the people, they are scared to go to Police, their houses were looted. I'm really shocked, this is destruction of democracy," he said.
"People have left their houses and are living in jungles. Women tell me, that they (goons) will come there once again and there is such failure of security before the Governor. I'm shocked at it. I can imagine what the people here must be going through," news agency ANI quoted Governor Dhankhar, as saying.
"The situation is far more worrying than I thought. It’s a matter of concern for you, me, and everyone that the elections held in 4 states and one union territory but why there are violent incidents in West Bengal only. I analyzed that Chief Minister’s behaviour was not appropriate during elections. It was against the principles of democracy," Dhankhar said addressing a press conference later in the evening.
Trinamool slams Governor
The TrinamoolCongress alleged that Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who visited post-poll violence affected areas of Cooch Behar district ignoring the advice of the state government, violated constitutional provisions.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Dhankhar claiming that his visit to Cooch Behar would be "violative of the long-standing norms as evolved over several decades" and urged him to desist from "abrupt decisions with regards to field visits".
The governor, in his reply, said that he was discharging duties mandated by the Constitution and his visit to Cooch Behar was to share the pain and agony of the people suffering from post-poll violence.
"He (Dhankhar) did not listen to the state government and went to Cooch Behar. He went there in the company of a BJP leader. His conduct is unconstitutional," veteran TMC MP and party spokesperson Sougata Ray said.
BJP MP Nisith Pramanik accompanied Dhankhar during his visit to violence-hit areas of the district.
"Previously we had written a letter to the president against this governor. If the CM says, we will send another letter against him to the president," Ray told reporters.
The TMC in December last year had written to President Ram Nath Kovind to remove Jagdeep Dhankhar from the post of the West Bengal governor, accusing him of "transgressing constitutional limits" by regularly commenting against the state administration in public.
In a Twitter post, TMC Lok Sabha MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar urged Dhankhar to "stop nasty divisive propaganda", saying it is not time for that.
However, she did not mention the governor's visit to Coochbehar.
"His Master's Voice @jdhankhar1 ji #GangaExposedModi No treatment No vaccine no #ventilators No cremation of dead Policy failure by @PMOIndia Stop nasty divisive propaganda It is not the time Save India from #CovidIndia," Ghosh Dastidar tweeted.
On Friday, the governor is scheduled to visit camps in Assam where some people from West Bengal have reportedly taken refuge due to the skirmishes.
Post-poll violence has been reported from various places in the state, with both the opposition BJP and the ruling TMC accusing each other of indulging in attacks on their workers.
At least 16 people, mainly from the BJP and the TMC, have been killed in post-poll violence in West Bengal and most of the killings were reported till May 3 when the law and order was under the Election Commission, CM Mamata Banerjee had said on May 6.
Political clashes also left a number of people injured in the state since the results of the assembly elections were announced on May 2, when the TMC returned to power in a landslide victory.
(With PTI inputs)