The violence in the Bhangar area of West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district earlier this week has precipitated a standoff between Governor M.K. Narayanan and the Trinamool Congress government.

While senior Trinamool Congress leader and Minister Subrata Mukherjee whipped up a controversy here on Thursday criticising Mr. Narayanan for his remarks on the violence, the Governor said in the evening that he stood by what he had said.

Mr. Narayanan had on Wednesday said that the recent incidents in the Bhangar area of South 24 Parganas district were “distressing and disturbing” and nothing but “goondaism.”

‘Provocative remarks’

A day later, Mr. Mukherjee said the Governor’s remarks were “provocative” and could be “misunderstood by the people.”

“I speak the language of a Governor… Of course I stand by my comments,” Mr. Narayanan said.

“To have made such a strong criticism of the State government on an isolated political incident, by only depending on newspaper reports was not proper,” Mr. Mukherjee said earlier in the day. He added that Mr. Narayanan could have consulted senior officials of the State government before making such a remark.

“The people will misunderstand because a Governor, who has been nominated by the Congress government [at the Centre], is making such comments,” Mr. Mukherjee said, adding that he had read media reports on what Mr. Narayanan had said.

The Constitutional head of the State making such a comment on the law and order situation and the State government was improper, he added.

The Minister’s remarks were strongly criticised by leaders of the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — all of whom believed that the present law and order situation merited the remarks.

Breakdown

“When the Constitutional set-up has broken down, when the Constitution is under attack, the Constitutional head of the State had to say that this is happening,” said Mohd. Salim, a member of the Central Committee of the CPI(M).

Mr. Salim said that in the wake of these developments, Mr. Narayanan must have understood the kind of persons he administered the oath of office to, on the recommendations of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Senior Congress leader and the Union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi said that Mr. Mukherjee should have kept in mind the respect that was given to the office of the Governor before making the comments.

‘Governor has the right’

“At a time when Bengal is burning, when there is rampant terror and goondaism — of course the Governor has every right to comment on it,” Ms. Dasmunsi said.

Rahul Sinha, president of the State unit of the BJP, strongly condemned “Mr. Mukherjee’s act of issuing threats to the Governor.”

“Mr. Mukherjee should have adhered to his own advice. Instead of reacting to what has appeared in the newspapers about the Governor’s remarks, the State government could have gone to him and apprised him of the situation,” Mr. Sinha said.