Sharpening its attack on Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday, a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that his name figures in the Jain Hawala scandal, the TMC said it will think of ways to step up the demand for his dismissal.
Dismissing the charge, the BJP maintained that Dhankhar was being targeted by the ruling dispensation “as he stood by the victims of political violence” in the state. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, the deputy leader of the TMC in Rajya Sabha, told a press meet here during the day that the name ‘Jagdeep Dhankhar’ finds mention on page 3 of a diary allegedly used by the hawala dealers.
Showing a purported copy of the diary, Roy said, “Let the honourable governor clarify if the two Dhankhar are different persons.” The senior TMC leader also pointed out that a Delhi- based journalist, in his Facebook post, has corroborated the claim put forward by the ruling dispensation.
“Given the fact that those accused in the scandal are yet to get a clean chit, it is a wonder how Prime Minister Narendra Modi overlooked this fact while appointing Dhankhar as the governor,” he said. Roy further stated that his party will hold internal discussions to decide on the steps that could be initiated to seek his removal from office.
“The CM has sent three letters demanding his recall from the state… The legislature party had in the past moved the President for the same reason. Nothing happened. In the upcoming parliamentary session, too, we will raise the issue,” the TMC MP maintained.State minister Bratya Basu, who was also present at the press meet, accused Dhankhar of “misusing power, trying to divide the state and violation of constitutional norms”.
“He is holding meetings with the secessionist leaders of north Bengal who support bifurcation of the state. He wants to tarnish the image of the TMC government by seeking CAG audit of Gorkha Teritorial Administration (GTA) accounts. “He could have easily got the audit report by asking for it from the hill affairs minister, although he is not entitled to get the same,” Basu said.
The minister further took a jibe at Dhankhar’s frequent use of Twitter, saying that the Constitution doesn’t specify if a governor can use social media in this manner. “The Centre should now frame guidelines on the use of social media by those holding constitutional posts, such as the governor,” he noted. Countering the charges, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said “bogus and nasty allegations” were being levelled against the governor, who is a distinguished lawyer.
“The TMC is making wild allegations against the governor as he has stood by the victims of political violence and did not succumb to the intimidatory tactics of the TMC. But they cannot suppress him with such tactics,” Ghosh said. The faceoff between Jagdeep Dhankhar and the Mamata Banerjee government took a turn for the worse on Monday after the chief minister accused the governor of being “corrupt” as he was allegedly named in the Jain Hawala case.
Her remarks drew a sharp rebuttal from the Raj Bhawan, which claimed that she was propagating “lies”. According to sources the context of the allegations and counter-allegations between the two constitutional office holders stems from Dhankhar’s recent demand of a special audit into the accounts of the GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) and objections to the contents of the draft speech that he is supposed to read at the opening session of the newly elected assembly.
Banerjee was also miffed over Dhankhar meeting leaders in North Bengal, especially BJP MP John Barla, who had recently raised the demand for separation of north Bengal from the state as a UT. Jain Hawala Case was a huge political and financial scandal of the 1990s in which money routed through hawala channels was claimed to have been given to top politicians across various parties.