HW English
jagdeep Dhankar
National Politics

West Bengal Governor to travel 600 Km by road as CM Banerjee rejects helicopter

CM Mamata Banerjee responded sharply: “Some nominated persons are behaving too much. Governor should not supersede the Central government

Kolkata: On Thursday, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar claimed that he would have to take a 600-km journey by car today as his request for a helicopter has not found “favorable consideration”. In a late evening statement, Mr. Dhankar said he has received no response on the matter either from the state Chief Secretary or the Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.

Earlier Dhankhar had accepted an invitation to be the chief guest at the silver jubilee celebrations of Prof Syed Nurul Hasan College on Friday. His office had requested for use of the helicopter was placed well in advance with the state government. But the request “has not found favorable consideration”, said the Raj Bhavan statement.

The statement added that Raj Bhavan had brought the request for a chopper to the notice of Bengal chief secretary but hadn’t received a response so far.

“Keeping in view of the delay involved, communication in the matter has already been sent by him to the Hon’ble CM but the response to that is awaited,” said the statement.

The Raj Bhavan stated that Dhankar will be traveling with his wife, would travel by road. “About 600 km of a journey on the same day is being taken by Shri Dhankhar,”.

Junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said the West Bengal want to know why the helicopter was required. “The chief minister went for an aerial survey of the cyclone-affected areas because the situation demanded it,”.

The inability of the West Bengal government to accept the governor’s request comes amid an escalating back-and-forth between the CM and governor. Mamata Banerjee has been clearly uncomfortable with the governor undertaking frequent field visits and holding meetings with officials.

On Monday Dhankhar paid a surprise visit to Singur, from where chief minister Mamata Banerjee led a land agitation forcing Tata Motors to withdraw its Nano car project in 2008. Dhankhar had to return to Kolkata after meeting some clerks because no official was present at the local block development officer. The TMC also protested this field visit.

Governor said “If one visit of mine can trigger such curiosity then my heart feels like spending a long time in Singur and Nandigram. As governor of West Bengal, I need to know everything. You will often see that people try to hide what you want to see. If some people are trying to hide something then I would like to see it,”.

CM Mamata Banerjee responded sharply “Some nominated persons are behaving too much. Governor should not supersede the Central government. I think BJP led-government must take care of this.”

The state health Minster said that “We are not sure whether the Constitution sanctions such behavior by a governor. Dhankar is behaving more like a political person. This is very unfortunate. I think he is purposely doing this,”.

Dhankhar and TMC have been engaged in a war of words over many issues, with TMC saying that the governor has failed to maintain the sanctity of his office.

Mamata Banerjee believes Singur is a sensitive issue. Considering the place of her political rebirth after the Nano project was withdrawn, the TMC faced its first setback in Singur when the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got a lead in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Singur is part of the Hooghly parliamentary seat, which the BJP has won.

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