TMC 'meddle' ire at Tripathi

Calcutta: Trinamul on Wednesday accused Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi of violating the spirit of "co-operative federalism" and sidestepping the state government by having a letter sent to a senior official seeking an administrative meeting.

Trinamul secretary-general and parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee raised the matter in the Assembly through a special mention and said Tripathi should not have had the letter sent to the Malda divisional commissioner to discuss law and order and welfare schemes' progress. The letter, according to Trinamul, was sent by Satish Tiwari, additional chief secretary to the governor.

"The letter was written directing the official to summon a meeting without the knowledge of the chief minister's office. It is unconstitutional. We condemn it," Chatterjee said, a day after Trinamul raised the issue in Parliament.

Trinamul Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien has sought an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday to protest what party sources described as "interference" in law and order, a state subject. The letter had asked the Malda divisional commissioner to attend a meeting in Murshidabad on February 6.

A senior police officer in Murshidabad - Tripathi visited the district on February 6 - was also learnt to have been asked to be present. However, the meeting was not held.

"As far as we know, no official from Malda went to Murshidabad and no further communication was made in this regard from either side till Wednesday," said a source.

A source close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the letter as "a complete breach of co-operative federalism". "He (Tripathi) has mentioned things like law and order and security along the international (Bangla) border in the letter. How can he seek answers on law and order issues?" the source said.

Trinamul is "happy" that a broad consensus on the issue has emerged among Opposition parties in Delhi.

The BJP justified Tripathi's move, with state chief and MLA Dilip Ghosh saying the governor was well within his rights to send such a letter. "It (the letter) is not unprecedented. He (Tripathi) enjoys the authority to do whatever he has done so far," said Ghosh.


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