Coming down heavily on Trinamul Congress leaders and the state government in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar today iterated that an audit into the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration would be held and that no corrupt leader, irrespective of party affiliation, would be spared.
Talking to reporters upon his arrival at the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri today, Mr Dhankhar narrated in detail his observations and the role of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the Speaker of the state assembly, the education minister as well as senior officials.
“The situation in West Bengal is very worrying. The republican system has broken down. The constitutional system is being publicly disrespected. It cannot be tolerated. My responsibility as Governor is to uphold the Constitution. I keep trying,” Mr Dhankhar told reporters at Bagdogra.
On the state government’s statement given to the Calcutta High Court on elections to the Howrah Municipal Corporation, the Governor said that he was yet to approve the Howrah Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill 2021. The Bill seeks to separate Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of Howrah Municipal Corporation, and was passed by the state assembly recently. Mr Dhankhar clarified that he was yet to give a nod to the Bill and that it was still under his consideration.
Advocate General SN Mookherjee had recently told the Court that there was no issue with the elections in Howrah as the Governor had given his assent to the bill. Mr Dhankhar also criticized Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee for what he called was “utter disregard” shown to him when he had gone to the Assembly.
“The two times I went to the Assembly, both the occasions reminded me of the Emergency days,” he said. He also hit out at state Education Minister Bratya Basu’s proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of state universities. “I was surprised, the education minister, who should have discussed with me, said he would make the chief minister the chancellor. Along with chancellor, make the CM the Governor too, as this may leave him (Basu) at peace,”
Mr Dhankhar said at Bagdogra. The Governor, who is on a three-day visit, later reached Darjeeling, where he talked about alleged corruption in the GTA. “The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration was to work for comprehensive development of Darjeeling. It received thousands of crores of rupees from the state and the central governments since 2012. However, it is a serious issue that not a single audit by the CAG has been done till date,” Mr Dhankhar said in Darjeeling. “Elections to the GTA were held once, and after that it was not run democratically, with some administrators, political appointments and then administrations. This is a serious issue,” he added.
According to him, it does not matter if a leader takes political protection, the leader cannot run away from the law. “There will be full, proper and transparent audit into the GTA,” he added.