Jagdeep Dhankhar is a corrupt man, says Mamata Banerjee
Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday said he had a disagreement with the state government over the draft of the address he would have to deliver at the beginning of the Assembly’s budget session on Friday as he had found “certain discrepancies” in the speech.
Dhankhar said he had intimated the state government in writing about the “discrepancies” and expressed his desire to discuss the matter with the chief minister on Tuesday.
Before the governor revealed his disagreement with the address, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said Dhankhar was corrupt.
“Minutes before her press conference (at Nabanna), I received a call from her... I put forward some questions regarding the speech. She said she had nothing to do, as the cabinet had passed it…. It seems her comment at the press conference was a knee-jerk reaction,” Dhankhar said at a hurriedly convened news conference at the Raj Bhavan in Calcutta.
Sources in the state government said the Raj Bhavan occupant was suspected of trying to include in his address the BJP’s “baseless” allegations regarding post-poll violence against it in Bengal and the law and order in the state. They said he has also been demanding a “guarantee” of live television coverage of the address, which the ruling dispensation fears is indicative of his intent to go off-script in full public view.
Dhankhar said he hoped Mamata would meet him on Tuesday to discuss the matter with him, adding that he hoped for an amicable resolution acceptable to all.
After explaining his disapproval of the draft address, Dhankhar went on to attack Mamata referring to some of her comments made earlier in the day during a news conference in Nabanna. Swatting away the chief minister’s allegation that he was charge-sheeted in the Jain Diaries case — a politico-financial hawala scandal of the 1990s — Dhankhar said: “The allegations… don’t have an iota of truth. It is unfortunate that she is spreading misinformation, misinterpreting facts…. It does not suit a seasoned politician like her,” he said.
“I never expected a leader of her stature to create sensation, engage in misinformation…. Your governor was never named in any charge-sheet. There is no such document…. Nobody has been convicted in the hawala case” he added, referring to Mamata as his “younger sister”.
Dhankhar said the chief minister should have consulted the likes of former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha — named in the charge-sheet — who is now her party’s national vice-president.
The day began with the governor levelling allegations of irregularities related to the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA).
Dhankhar — accused by the chief minister of conducting the trip to north Bengal
in order to foment tension in the region and encourage divisive forces — said the GTA was a “den of corruption and nepotism”, demanding a CAG audit of the funds allotted to the body. Mamata dismissed the suggestion.
“The governor is trying to dictate everyone, even our officers… right after our government was blessed with such a massive, historic mandate by the people. Repeatedly overstepping the constitutional bounds of his office. He is just the governor…. Who is he to say all this?” asked Mamata, reiterating that she has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thrice demanding Dhankhar’s removal, urging the Centre to come clean on whether it was going to do so.
“He is a corrupt man. Why has the (Union) government allowed a man like him to continue…? He should clarify whether his name is there in the charge-sheet of the scam,” she added.
“Out of our utmost respect for the Constitution, I will continue to meet him, talk to him… follow all the courtesies and protocol, for as long as he is here…. The Union government should act based on my letters.”
During his visit to north Bengal, Dhankhar met a number of BJP lawmakers and other leaders of the saffron camp, including John Barla, the BJP’s Alipurduar MP who has been a key recent proponent of the contentious demand for statehood of north Bengal.
Mamata questioned the meeting.
“We also have information that some people have been asked to organise movements on the issue. Why did he go there? Does he want to divide north Bengal? I have never seen a governor like him,” she said.