Mamata Rips Into “Insulting, Abusive” Governor In Explosive Letter
Mamata’s letter, awash in criticism of the governor’s conduct, reminded him of his office’s limitations.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, 2 May, shot back at Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in an unusually strongly worded response to his letters attacking her administration on its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
In a 13-page letter, Mamata not only ripped into the governor’s allegations made through letters and social media over the last week, but also said the words used by him against, her ministers and officers, “even with maximum restraint” can only be described as “vituperative, intemperate, intimidating, insulting and abusive.”
Governor Dhankhar had written to the Chief Minister on 23 and 24 April accusing her of mismanaging the pandemic in the state. He also alleged she was appeasing the minority community amid questions on whether the constitutional head of the state should have levelled such a charge — a political narrative that the BJP has used against her.
In Saturday’s response, Mamata’s letter, awash in scathing criticism of the governor’s conduct, also reminded him of the roles and limitations of the governor’s position.
In a sternly worded rebuttal of his allegations, the letter also asked Dhankhar to “desist from intensifying efforts to usurp power.” She added that it was “supremely ironic” that he was doing so in the name of COVID.
Here are some excerpts of the Bengal chief minister’s response to the governor.
GOVERNOR’S TONE UNPRECEDENTED
Point 5 in the letter goes on to state, “such words and such communications of such content, tenor and tone from a governor to an elected CM are unprecedented in the annals of Indian Constitutional and political history.”
Iterating that his recent letters aren’t the “first time outbursts” by the governor, the words used by him against her and her ministers and officers, “even with maximum restraint” can only be described as “vituperative, intemperate, intimidating, insulting and abusive.”
CM IS EXECUTIVE HEAD OF THE STATE
Similar to a previous letter by the CM to the governor last week where Banerjee reminded him that she was an elected head while he was a nominated one, this letter, too, goes on to add, “The paramountcy of the State Legislature is subject only to the Constitution, judicial review and basic structure doctrine and certainly not even remotely to the office of Governor.”
In a not to subtle reminder, the letter also iterates that “the Cabinet of the State, led by the Chief Minister, exercises all executive functions of the state, with the CM being the executive head of the state. In all this, the governor was never intended to and plays absolutely no role.”
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
In point 8, the letter sternly reminds the governor that howsoever much he may dislike a decision of the government, he has “oblige and accede to the state government’s wishes, subject where applicable, to your SINGLE right of referral back”.
In a sarcastic tone, the next point adds that if the governor is “unable to reconcile to this reality” he should’ve chosen the CM’s seat instead of the governor’s. “You have neither absorbed nor internalised” governor’s limitations
“DESIST FROM INTENSIFYING EFFORTS TO USURP POWER”
“I beseech you to desist from intensifying your efforts to usurp powers,” point 12 states as a continuation of the CM’s claims about the governor having overstepped his authority.
The same point adds that Dhankhar is trying to do so during the crisis and “in the name of COVID”.
The letter concludes with the CM stating that anticipating the governor’s reply “will not be dissimilar” to his earlier letters, she reserves “the right to not reply to your adjectives.”
She adds that her time is “better utilised in attending to the many exigencies of a busy chief executive of one of India’s largest States.”
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