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Your planned visit to violence-hit area violates norms: CM to Guv

Your planned visit to violence-hit area violates norms: CM to Guv
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Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar asking not to "violate long standing-norms as evolved over several decades" by unilaterally visiting Cooch Behar that the latter claimed to be affected by post-poll violence.

In the same letter, she also accused the Governor of "ignoring her advise" to refrain from "surpassing the Chief Minister and her Council of Ministers and communicating with and dictating" the state government officers "in excess" of his "power under the Constitution".

Drawing Dhankhar's attention to "the Manual of Protocol and Ceremonials, Government of West Bengal, Home Department, 1990", Banerjee stated in her letter that "I find from social media that you are unilaterally proceeding to the district of Cooch Behar on May 13 and, sadly, I find that to be violative of the long-standing norms as evolved over several decades. I, therefore, would expect that you will kindly follow the well-established norms of protocol, as stated above, and desist from abrupt decisions with regard to field visits".

Governor had tweeted on Wednesday morning about his schedule to visit Mathabhanga, Sitalkuchi, Sitai and Dinhata "by BSF Helicopter at 11 am on Thursday to visit post poll violence affected areas..."

She further stated that it is well mentioned in the "Manual of Protocol and Ceremonials" that "the programme for the Governor's visits to places in the districts is finalised by the Secretary to the Governor after obtaining the orders of the Government. However, before recommending a request to the Governor for acceptance, whether it is from a private party or a Government Institution, the Secretary to the Governor consults the Government and the Commissioner of the Division and the District Officer who are in charge of the proper execution of the overall programme."

Referring to one of her previous letters (dated September 26 in 2020) in which she had "advised" the Governor not to surpass the Chief Minister and her Cabinet ministers to contact or dictate officers of the state government, Banerjee wrote: "I find that you are steadily ignoring this advice, solemnly rendered by me to you, and have been communicating with and dictating the state officials. You have also been seeking reports from them directly. I urge you and again request and advise you to refrain from this. I am asking my Chief Secretary to go by this norm".

Dhankhar wrote to the Chief Minister giving a reply to her letter later in the evening. He tweeted (along with his letter to the Chief Minister): "In response @MamataOfficial urged her to revisit her stance & commit to constitution that by oath she is obligated to uphold & follow. This is time to address issues being faced by people in deep distress. Assured her of my fullest cooperation within constitutional parameters."

It needs mention that five people were killed in Cooch Behar on the day of the polls, including four in CISF firing. As many as 16 people were killed in the state in post-poll violence when "the law and order was under the Election Commission". The Chief Minister had later announced financial support of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims of post-poll violence. Banerjee had also accused BJP of making post-poll violence "an issue out of nothing" by circulating fake videos failing to accept the people's mandate in Bengal.

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