Home / West-bengal / Governor faces BJP ire in House

Governor faces BJP ire in House

Opposition members shout slogans, tear copies of Bose’s speech
Governor CV Ananda Bose (right) with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Banerjee after the speech on Wednesday
Governor CV Ananda Bose (right) with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Banerjee after the speech on Wednesday
Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 09.02.23, 03:10 AM

BJP legislators shouted slogans, tore up papers and subsequently staged a walkout as governor  C.V. Ananda Bose delivered his maiden address before the budget session, with Assembly old-timers failing to recall a previous instance of Opposition members resorting to such ruckus to foil the governor’s speech. 

The chaotic scenes in the House, followed by another round of sloganeering while Bose was leaving the Assembly, capped the rising animosity between Bengal’s main Opposition party and the governor, who was selected by the central leadership of the BJP.


“The governor is behaving according to established provisions of the Constitution.... That is something the BJP cannot digest and that’s the reason why they resorted to such tactics,” said Firhad Hakim, urban development minister and Calcutta mayor.

The governor’s address, drafted by the state government, is a constitutional obligation at the beginning of the budget session. Although there have been instances of some governors omitting parts of the address or prevailing on the state government to tweak the content, Bose has so far chosen to go by the book. Bose, unlike his predecessor Jagdeep Dhankhar, has maintained a cordial relation with the state government.

Suvendu Adhikari, leader of the Opposition in the House who had earlier expressed anguish at Bose praising chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the convocation of St Xavier’s university, stood up on the 10th minute of the governor’s address and began shouting. Other BJP legislators joined in and shouted “Shame! Shame!”, “Jai Shri Ram”, “Chor dhoro jail bhoro (Fill the jails with the thieves), and ‘Durniti ke aaral kora rajyopaler bhashon maanchhi na maanbo na’ (We won’t accept the speech of the governor who hides corruption)”.

BJP legislators threw torn pieces of Bose’s speech in the air. The governor ignored the din and continued to read out the speech.

“Hon’ble members are well aware that under the stewardship of my chief minister, the preceding year passed off peacefully and the government is ever alert to maintain law and order and communal harmony in the state. Religious festivities of all hues were celebrated in an atmosphere of mirth and bonhomie, reflective of the spirit of our rich diversity,” Bose said as the BJP MLAs tried to distract him.

The veteran IAS officer, who had held key positions in various ministries such as education, forest and environment, labour and general administration in Kerala before coming to Bengal, continued unfazed as the Treasury benches maintained their composure and did not counter the BJP.

“It was embarrassing for us to see a governor, sent to the state by our central leaders, parroting the lines of Trinamul on issues like communalism.... The protest was spontaneous,” said a BJP MLA.

The speech had more material to annoy the Opposition MLAs, with Bose reading out how the Union government was allegedly depriving the state.

“However, there are three areas where we could do little in this year — MGNREGA, rural housing and rural roads. Till 2021-22, West Bengal has been the No. 1 state in these areas as well. But this year, the state is yet to receive any fund from the Centre. More than Rs 11,800 crore is pending. This has caused great hardship and created major difficulties in meeting the obligations of the state government for the welfare of the common people. I hope the Centre will release the funds soon in the interest of poor people. And I am sure, West Bengal will continue to hold No. 1 place in MGNREGA, rural housing and rural roads as soon as it gets its dues from the central government.”

Around 20 minutes into the address, the BJP members walked out of the House and began protesting outside.

After Bose finished his speech, Mamata and Speaker Biman Banerjee approached him with smiling faces. Bose, with folded hands, left the House.

Outside, the BJP legislators shouted slogans when the chief minister and the Speaker came to the Assembly portico to see off Bose. The sloganeering continued till Bose’s convoy left the Assembly premises.

“What they did was shameful... We also had problems with former governor Dhankharji. But we never misbehaved with him like this,” said Hakim.

Adhikari, who led the attack on Bose, said: “We were raising slogans against the content of the address. Earlier, we have seen governors like Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Keshari Nath Tripathi and Jagdeep Dhankhar, who have compelled the government to change the draft speech. Recently, the governor of Tamil Nadu, (R.N) Ravi, refused to read certain sections from the speech. We will not blame the honourable governor. But we felt that he didn’t follow in the footsteps of Ravi. Instead, he followed in Mamata Banerjees’s.”

Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.