Governor in 'dirt' retort

Keshari Nath Tripathi

Calcutta: Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Thursday hit back at Trinamul's allegations of "interference" in state administration, asking the leaders "look at their own faces in the mirror" and stop "throwing dirt" at his office.

"They should go to the washroom, look at their faces in the mirror and remove dirt from their faces. They should stop throwing dirt on the governor's office," Tripathi said on the sidelines of an event in Diamond Harbour.

The governor was asked about the ruling party's criticism that he had "exceeded his brief" by having a letter sent directly last week to the Malda divisional commissioner seeking an administrative meeting.

Tripathi's response came on a day a 30-member delegation of Trinamul MPs met Union home minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi and submitted a memorandum on the governor's alleged "overreach" in the state administration.

A senior Trinamul MP said Rajnath was "categorically" told Tripathi's actions had been "hurting federalism" and that he was "not paying heed" to the Constitution.

Told about Tripathi's remarks on Thursday, Trinamul secretary-general and minister Partha Chatterjee said: "If he has indeed said what is being reported, then I will say that he is a very aged man, maybe his age is taking a toll on his memory," said Chatterjee, 22 years younger than the 83-year-old governor.

"The responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness and sanctity of the office of the constitutional head of the state is that of the occupant," Chatterjee added.

According to Trinamul, the letter was sent by Satish Tiwari, additional chief secretary to the governor, to Malda divisional commissioner Barun Ray. The January 31 letter asked Ray to attend a meeting in Murshidabad on February 6. The meeting was not held.

In July last year, Trinamul had demanded Tripathi's removal, accusing him of having turned the Raj Bhavan into an "RSS shakha (camp)" and acting like a "shakha pramukh (cam head)" after claims that he had "threatened" chief minister Mamata Banerjee during a phone conversation over a flare-up in Basirhat, North 24-Parganas.#


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