Is There Censorship in West Bengal, Asks Governor Dhankar After Bureaucrats Skip Key Meet

Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Tuesday expressed his unhappiness after North 24-Parganas district administration informed the Raj Bhawan that meeting with or sending invitations to district officials, MPs and MLAs was not possible without the permission of the state government.

The Governor, along with his wife Sudesh Dhankar, visited Dhamakhali in North 24-Parganas around 8am on Tuesday where he wanted to meet the administrative officers, local MP, MLA, and local Panchayat leaders.

Dhankar had last week expressed his desire to hold meetings with district officials, DM and elected representatives of North and South 24 Parganas districts at Dhamakhali and Sajnakhali.

However, the district administration on Monday informed his secretary that invitation to the representatives was not possible without the permission of the state government.

“With reference to a letter dated October 10, 2019, Secretary to the governor of West Bengal, this is to kindly inform you that permission of the government of West Bengal is required (for the undersigned) to request the invitees (public representatives, government officials, to attend the interactive session scheduled at Zila Parishad Guest House, Dhamakhali, North 24 Parganas,” the district administration’s letter reads.

It further reads, “It may be added here that all senior government functionaries will be in North Bengal from October 21 to 23 for administrative review meetings of the Chief Minister for some of the North Bengal districts.”

Dismayed over absence of district officials, Dhankhar termed it ‘unconstitutional’. “I don’t understand why they need state government’s permission to meet me. I am shocked. I do not know if there is some sort of censorship in West Bengal.”

Hinting at the state government, he said, “Sorry to say, but it seems that they are frustrated. Despite their refusal to meet me, I will continue my tour in the districts.”

This is not the first time when Governor Dhankar and the state government have been involved in a bitter standoff.

On September 19, the Governor faced criticism from ruling TMC for visiting and rescuing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babul Supriyo who faced protests by students of Jadavpur University (JU) during an event organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

On September 24, Dhankar visited Siliguri to inaugurate the newly constructed building of Indian Chamber of Commerce where he expressed his desire to interact with the district administration and MP, MLAs of Darjeeling district. However, most of them stayed away, citing ‘unavoidable reason’.

“I will look forward to connect with them in future. Not only Siliguri, I will be going to all the districts in West Bengal in future. It does not matter who comes to meet me and who doesn’t. I am not in a political circus. I am in a constitutional post and despite what anyone says to me, I cannot be intolerant,” the Governor had said.