- Jagdeep Dhankhar on Feb 24 summoned WB's legislature for a session at the highly unusual time
- He acted on a typographical mistake in the state cabinet’s proposal note
- Dhankar said he was merely acting on recommendation of the Mamata Banerjee-led cabinet
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday (February 24) summoned West Bengal's legislature for a session at the highly unusual time of 2:00 AM on March 7, acting on a typographical mistake in the state cabinet’s proposal note.
Dhankar said he was merely acting on the recommendation of the Mamata Banerjee-led cabinet which he described as “unusual”, though both state government officials as well as the state’s Speaker Biman Banerjee said the request for calling the assembly session at 2 AM was a case of a simple “typographical error” where PM became AM.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh also clarified late in the day that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself had called up the Governor to clarify the typing error. However, since that had not been heeded, a new proposal will be sent by the state cabinet recommending the correct timing, he said.
If the session is indeed called at 2 AM at night, it will mean a historical first of sorts. Bengal’s legislators as well as Governor Dhankar who has had an acrimonious relationship with the TMC government of the state during his tenure, will have to literally burn the midnight oil.
Independent India’s Parliament held a session where Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru made his famous tryst with destiny speech at the stroke of mid-night. Both the Parliament and many state legislative assemblies have met into the late hours of the night to debate urgent business, but rarely if ever has a house been summoned at such a late hour.
In a tweet, Dhankar said that finding the timing of the session "after midnight somewhat odd," he had called the state Chief Secretary for urgent consultation before noon Thursday. However, "there was usual compliance failure," he complained.
Thereafter, he took the decision to call the house at the odd hour "accepting the cabinet decision," the Governor said.
"Invoking article 174 (1) of Constitution, accepting Cabinet Decision, Assembly has been summoned to meet on March 7, 2022 at 2.00 A.M," he tweeted.
"Assembly meeting after midnight at 2.00 AM is unusual and history of sorts in making, but that is Cabinet Decision," Dhankar added.
The Governor in his tweet pointed out the proposal in the cabinet memo which he received the state cabinet said, ‘Now it is proposed that West Bengal Legislative Assembly may be summoned by Hon’ble Governor on 7.03.2022 at 2:00 am.”
Reacting to the decision, BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who is also the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly tweeted “Midnight session !!! State Government’s head is in disorder.”
However, Trinamool Congress state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said it was a typographical error, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called the Governor to correct it by saying it would be PM and not 2 AM.
"Seeing the Governor's tweet, the Chief Minister called him. The word AM is typographically incorrect. PM is written everywhere. It would be good to understand. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has called a 28/2 cabinet meeting to send a proposal again by writing pm," he tweeted.
Ghosh also wondered how confidential cabinet paper could be made public by the Governor.
"The question is, how can the governor post the cabinet paper on Twitter? There are no rules or regulations for making this document public. The Governor is breaking all norms. He is busy obstructing the work of the government, slandering Bengal and creating issues out of non-issues. He is representing the BJP by tarnishing the image of the Governor," he claimed.
Dhankar responded to this tweet, with his own post on the social media platform stating “Guv accepts Govt recommendation...all machinery @AITCofficial is blazing against Guv on all cylinders...where are we heading!”
The governor had earlier sent back a recommendation by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for summoning the Assembly for the Budget Session, saying that as per constitutional provision, it must come from the state Cabinet.ALSO READ: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar discontinues assembly session