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Amid COVID-19 crisis, Bengal CM & Governor continue their war of words

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The war of words continued between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday as the Governor accused her of trying to “deliberately divert” people’s attention from her “abject failure” in fighting and preventing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and acting in “utter disregard” of the Constitution, besides being “explicit” in “appeasement” of the minority community.

In yet another strong-worded letter, Dhankhar alleged that Banerjee’s “cover-up mechanism” with regards to the pandemic “would lead to very painful results” and called her overall approach “anti-people”.

“I know the mismanagement of COVID-19 combat is virtually in incremental mode given your unfortunate stance to be ‘law unto oneself’ and to be in a bravado mode of collision,” said Dhankhar in the letter that came in response to Banerjee’s letter on Thursday (April 23).

The duo has been engaged in a letter war as Banerjee accused him of repeatedly interfering in the administration of the ministries, and crossing the limits of constitutional dharma and elementary norms of constitutional behaviour.

Dhankhar, in his reply, described Banerjee’s missive as “outrageously factually wrong and constitutionally infirm”.

In her hard-hitting seven-page letter, Banerjee reminded Dhankhar that she was an “elected” Chief Minister and he a “nominated governor” and charged him with ignoring advice of her council of ministers.

The chief minister said that Dhankhar’s holding of press conferences against the state government, his “repeated and constant interference in the administration of my ministries and departments, make it clear as to who has flagrantly transgressed constitutional dharma and even basic norms of decency between constitutional functionaries”.

Responding, Dhankhar alleged that Banerjee’s constant refrain of Governor being “nominated” is “lamentable” and can be ascribed only to “elementary ignorance” of the Constitution.

Calling Banerjee’s approach “outrageous”, he said it was a “misleading” view of the Indian constitution.

On Banerjee’s allegation that he has ignored all advice and inputs given by her and her council of ministers, Dhankhar said: “I never had any benefit of any advice or input to me either by you or your ministers”.

He also alleged that the state ministers have been like “loose cannons” using “demeaning” language for the Governor.

Dhankhar had threatened to make on Friday full disclosure of details and documentation “that will startle all” about Banerjee’s stance.

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