Total lawlessness in Bengal, TMC govt should do some soul searching: Guv

(Eds: With more quotes, reax) Kolkata, Jan 30 (PTI) Lashing out at the Mamata Banerjee government, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday said the TMC dispensation needed to do some soul searching to find out why the 'rule of law has broken down in Bengal'.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, was quick to return fire, claiming that the 'governor is behaving like a cadre of a specific political party'.

'The rule of law has completely broken down in the state. There is total lawlessness. Law and order situation has completely collapsed. The state government needs to do some serious soul searching...' Dhankhar told reporters at Gandhi Ghat in North 24 Parganas, where he had gone to pay tribute to the 'Father of the Nation' on the occasion of Martyrs' Day.

The governor's comments came moments after he took umbrage at Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma reading newspapers, while the programme was underway.

Dhankhar also slammed Verma for 'negligence of duty'.

'How could you do this? How can you behave in such a manner that when the governor of the state is present, you are reading newspapers.

'Shame on you. I want the names of all the police officers who were sitting in the front row,' a livid Dhankhar told Verma, who remained silent.

Reacting to the development, TMC secretary-general and the state's Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Partha Chatterjee, accused the governor of misbehaving with a senior police officer in public.

'This is the same police officer who had brought peace in Bhatpara area (last year). I think the governor has a problem with the fact that Verma brought the situation in control in Bhatpara, where the BJP wanted to create trouble,' Chatterjee alleged.

Another senior TMC leader and state minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said Dhankhar should stop behaving like an 'activist of a political party, as his conduct is unbecoming of a governor'.

Meanwhile, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the state government should stop insulting the post of the governor.

Dhankhar had been engaged in a bitter standoff with the West Bengal government over a host of issues since assuming charge in July last year. PTI PNT RMS RBT RBT