Will act if the Constitution is not protected, says West Bengal Governor

Police state and democracy don’t go hand in hand, says Jagdeep Dhankhar.

September 29, 2020 04:32 am | Updated 04:32 am IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. File

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. File

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday said he would be forced to “look into Article 154” of the Constitution, as his office has been ignored for long by the State government.

“If the Constitution is not protected, I have to act. The office of the Governor has been ignored for long. I will be forced to look into Article 154,” the Governor told journalists at the Raj Bhavan.

The Article says the “executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution”. He also said if someone thinks the “office of Governor is an ornamental post office that is not so. This office it has enough power to protect and defend the Constitution”.

Mr. Dhankar said, “West Bengal has been turned into a police state” and that “electronic surveillance by the TMC government” has forced him to communicate over WhatsApp voice calls. “A police state is the first enemy of a democracy. Police state and democracy don’t go hand in hand.”

The Governor touched on a host of issues including the response of the DGP, who sent a two-line reply to a lengthy note by him. “What is amiss if the Governor wants the DGP to elaborate on the deteriorating law and order in the wake of political violence, political vendetta, ruthless quelling of opposition, incessant extortion by syndicates and frequent hurling of bombs,” he asked. He claimed that the CM has violated Article 167 of the Constitution (defines the duties of the Chief Minister towards the Governor) by not replying to his queries on several issues. “I have asked for number of information in writing on Amphan, global business summit etc no response,” he said, asking how long the State government can deny him information.

Mr. Dhankar said the budgetary support to the Raj Bhavan has not been released by the State government. “My secretary asked the State to release the funds allocated. A letter has come from the Additional Chief Secretary saying he has been directed by CM that due to a huge hit in the State economy due to COVID-19 and Amphan, no funds are available,” he said, adding that such a behaviour is not acceptable. Mr. Dhakhar said funds relating to the Raj Bhavan to the tune of ₹30 to ₹40 lakh are not being released whereas “free distribution of money” is going on.

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