Kolkata, Feb 16: Personality clashes between the chief minister and the Governor of a state is not new but in West Bengal, the story is revealing extremely worrying standards. And the leading personality in the story is none other than the CM of the state, Mamata Banerjee. According to a report published in Bengali daily Anandabazaar Patrika on Saturday, Banerjee rang up President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday to complain about state Governor M K Narayanan after the latter expressed his displeasure over the recent removal of the Kolkata Police Commissioner by Banerjee following his handling of the murder of a policeman by goons.
Banerjee reportedly told Mukherjee that Narayanan was targetting her party and overlooking ill deeds of other parties. The CM asked the President to warn Narayanan for according to her, the constitutional head of the state was violating his limits.
Did Mamata Banerjee violate protocol?
But Banerjee's action has been questioned by various quarters. Can a chief minister call up the President of the country to express his/her frustration against the Governor? The two Bengali leaders might have their old working relation but does that allow the CM to ignore protocol?
Mamata not allowing anybody to work
The problem is Banerjee, instead of carrying out her own duties as the chief executive properly, is creating obstacles in the way of others. The CM, who was enjoying at the seaside even after a policeman was shot in Kolkata in broad daylight, visited the victim's family after 52 hours and proudly (or rather a controlled arrogance) doled out promises. And then within hours, transferred the city Police Commissioner Ranjit Pachnanda citing a delayed response from the police in arresting the criminals.
But in reality, she was annoyed that Pachnanda, who till then was a candidate of her preference, had taken a strong initiative to arrest the killers who were connected to the ruling party. He even handed out money to the victim's family on behalf of the police, something which might not have gone well with the government leaders.
Narayanan's stand annoyed Banerjee
Pachnanda's removal was criticised by Narayanan. He said there might be several reasons for his removal but if it was the fall out of what had happened in the last few days, there was definitely something wrong somewhere. He also said that the onus lied on the ruling party to prove whether they can indeed run a government. These comments were enough to ignite the mercurial Mamata Banerjee who hardly abides by logic.
It is not the first time that Banerjee and Narayanan found themselves at conflicting ends. The Governor had remarked that the state was falling into the grip of goondaism after a veteran Opposition leader was attacked and seriously injured in the state and violence ensued. Some of Banerjee's ministers also attacked Narayanan for his comment but were later reined in by the CM herself.
Is Narayanan really acting in a partisan manner?
The situation improved later and the two were seen sharing the dais at the celebration of Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary but the latest transfer episode has worsened it again. State industries minister Partha Chatterjee reached the message to Narayanan during a recent meeting that the state government was not taking his comments lightly, the report said. Chatterjee reportedly told Narayanan that he himself visited the spot where the policeman was killed and reasserted that the police did not carry out its responsibility despite being given orders. Hence, Pachnanda was removed.
According to the news report, the TMC leadership was also annoyed for the Governor did not utter a word after Adhir Chowdhury, a Congress leader and central minister, was recently seen leading a mob vandalising official property in Murshidabad district.
The central minister was also contacted for his reaction on the latest Mamata-Narayanan fall-out and he, as expected, backed the Governor. He said the latter only revealed his observation and did not show any personal grudge.
But Mamata used to feel happy when the former Guv criticised the Left
It seems Bengal's politics has been overshadowd by clash between Banerjee and the Centre, which is ruled by a Congress-led alliance. While it is true that the Governor should have also conveyed a similar message after the vandalism in Murshidabad as he has done after the incident in Kolkata, Banerjee should not have violated the constitutional limits to call up the President and complain about Governor. For it was the same Banerjee who used to feel elated whenever the former Governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, reprimanded the previous Left Front government over any action.
Why can't she tolerate the rules of the game that have remained static and trying to project as of the Governor, who is constitutionally a representative of the Centre, as a part of a conspiracy against her government?