Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose announced his decision to cancel his 12-day visit to the United States, less than 24 hours ahead of his previously scheduled departure time.
The decision, perceptively taken late on Monday afternoon, was finalized in the wake of the spreading Dengue menace in pockets of the state and to not exert further burden to an already cash-strapped state coffers, a communication from the Raj Bhavan claimed.
Interestingly, the Governor’s decision to cancel his US visit coincided with a desperate Bengal government shooting a letter to Bose to fast track the swearing in of Trinamul Congress MLA Nirmal Chandra Roy, who won the Dhupguri Assembly seat in a bye-election and even requested the Governor to authorize Biman Banerjee, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, to conduct the oath the ceremony in his stead with the initial understanding that the Governor would be leaving station.
Bose was invited by Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary General of United Nations, to attend the World Culture Festival (WCF) scheduled in Washington D.C. from September 29 to October 1. The Governor had initially decided to attend the function as a representative of Calcutta, a city that carries the unofficial tag of India’s culture capital, at this international forum, the Raj Bhavan communication stated.
“The organizers would bear the expenses for the Governor and his entourage. However, Hon’ble Governor decided that it would not be appropriate to accept foreign hospitality. Protocol also demands that. In view of this, the Hon’ble Governor attending the WCF would mean expenditure from the public exchequer. Hence, at this juncture, when the State is facing financial difficulties and adversities such as dengue deaths, Hon’ble Governor has decided not to attend the World Culture Festival in the USA,” the note from the Governor’s office read.
“Constructive discussions regarding collaboration with American Universities, that will benefit university students of Bengal, was also on the agenda to be discussed on the sidelines of the WCF. The Hon’ble Governor as Chancellor has decided to hold such meetings online as a cost-cutting measure. Where direct contact is required with the American Universities, Indian Embassy officials in the USA shall be requested to be in touch with the American university authorities,” the note added.
Meanwhile, with seventeen days having passed since the bye-poll results were declared, the state’s desperation to swear-in the Dhupguri MLA was evident after State parliamentary affairs minister Shovandeb Chattopadhyay sent the letter to Bose after holding a meeting with BP Gopalika, state home secretary, at Nabanna.
“The voters of Dhupguri had elected their legislator with a clear mandate: to usher in development. The unnecessary delay in the swearing-in has stopped us from providing services to the people of Dhupguri,” Chattopadhyay said and confirmed that was acting under the instructions of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.