In an interesting twist in the ongoing Raj Bhavan-state government standoff, both Governor CV Ananda Bose and chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided to call it a truce, even if it’s early days to foresee whether the move could just be a strategic break from a protracted war.
Both sides decided to play down the fervent speculations over the contents of the twin sealed letters that gave gone out from Raj Bhavan, one to the state secretariat Nabanna and the other to the Centre, minutes before the stroke of midnight hour on Saturday. The letters were a follow-up to the Governor’s declaration earlier that day about waiting for the designated hour to know “what action means”.
“What is confidential, should remain confidential. I wanted to communicate a few things. The chief minister is going to travel abroad and I did not want any tension to be given to her. Let her not take any baggage with her when she is on foreign tour. We will discuss the matters once she returns,” Bose said during a programme at Raj Bhavan on Monday morning in a tone far mellow than the verbal fireworks this state has been witness to from both sides in the past few weeks.
Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting at Nabanna on Monday, the day before the commencement of her trip to Spain and Dubai, Banerjee echoed Bose’s tone and even denied having received any so-called letter from the Raj Bhavan. “The Governor did not send me any letter. He has only conveyed his best wishes for my foreign trip. It was a personal message,” the chief minister said.
Asked whether she would disclose the contents of the Raj Bhavan communication, Banerjee said: “I cannot disclose a personal communication. It is confidential and personal and has no relation with the government.”
The messages from both sides conveyed on Monday stood in stark contrast to the utterances of the recent past. While Banerjee had threatened to sit on a dharna before Raj Bhavan gates against the Governor’s moves to “unilaterally” appoint officiating vice chancellors and “holding back” crucial Bills related to the state’s education sector, Bose had released a video of his animated gestures where he swore to not compromise with “corruption in campuses” and “fight till the very end”.
Banerjee also refrained from taking a stand on the one-nation-one-election Bill which is speculated to be introduced in the special session of Parliament next week. “Let us first see the Bill. I cannot comment without seeing the details of the Bill. I will comment only after we properly study it. I cannot make any guesses now,” Banerjee said.
“Our Parliamentary party will respond to it after due consultation,” she continued and stated, “I am not in favour of doing things before verifying them and finding out the truth. We will have to understand their motive first and what’s exactly in that Bill.
The chief minister, however, protested the use of the name Bharat instead of India at the recently concluded G20 summit in Delhi which, she held, was done in an “unconstitutional manner”. “We call this country Bharat when speaking in our mother-tongue. There’s no novelty in that. But you cannot simply delete the name India without amending the Constitution. That is an illegal move,” Banerjee remarked, while making no efforts to connect the Centre’s move with the BJP’s distance from the name ‘India’ after the newly-forged opposition bloc INDIA acronym, a point which several Opposition parties including Trinamul have made many times.