West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File image)
KOLKATA: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, without naming Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, took a dig at Raj Bhavan’s recent role, saying “Raj Bhavan mein ek raja baitha hai, kya nehin bolta hai (there is a king who sits in Raj Bhavan, speaks whatever comes to his mind). He speaks more than even the BJP national president.”
Banerjee’s statement in Goa came on a day Dhankhar met BSF DG Pankaj Kumar Singh in New Delhi. Dhankhar tweeted: “(Singh) indicated that all efforts are being made to generate seamless coordination,” tagging Bengal Police and CM Banerjee to add, “there will be due focus on its lawful role and security of borders.”
Speaking in Goa, Banerjee said: “Let him speak. Let him do whatever he wants to do. We need to work. Let us work.”
Before speaking against Raj Bhavan, the CM also referred to the role of NHRC on the post-poll violence issue in Bengal. “BJP during the elections had used fake videos. They passed off videos in Bangladesh to be that of Bengal. We have challenged this in Supreme Court, it is being heard. Where were they (NHRC) in UP, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh? They have to vilify Bengal. Why? Because Mamata Banerjee is fighting them,” she said.
Raj Bhavan recently waded into the BSF debate, on which Banerjee has spoken to PM Narendra Modi and the Bengal assembly passed a resolution opposing the move to increase BSF’s jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
During an administrative meeting last week, Banerjee had referred to the deaths of civilians in Nagaland, in Sitalkuchi during elections and after the polls in Cooch Behar, and asked local police to ensure that they work in tandem with BSF.
The chief minister also asked Bengal DGP Manoj Malviya to speak directly to Singh, harping that “law and order” was the role of police, not of central agencies.
In a letter to the CM on December 9, Dhankhar said that the CM’s stance of allowing BSF to work with police permission was “potentially alarming for federal polity and national security”. He also met Bengal chief secretary H K Dwivedi and home secretary B P Gopalika for “cooperative coordination”.
In another letter to Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha chief whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, the governor referred to these issues and said national security interests should get primacy over “partisan considerations”.
Bengal’s primary opposition to the new rule stretching BSF’s powers from 15 to 50 km is because it brings over a third of the state under the central agency. It has argued that while law and order is a state subject, the BSF Act allows the agency to act under various central laws, creating dual policing that was not envisaged in the Constitution. Punjab has also strongly opposed this and moved the Supreme Court.