Making a dramatic allegation against West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday accused him of threatening and insulting her and said she even thought of quitting office over this “humiliation”.
In an open confrontation with Tripathi, the firebrand Trinamool Congress supremo further alleged that the Governor was acting like a “Bharatiya Janata Party block president.”
The Governor for his part expressed surprise over Banerjee’s “attitude and language” and said there was nothing in his talk for which the chief minister felt insulted, threatened or humiliated.
Alleging that the Governor threatened her over phone, Banerjee said, “The way he spoke taking the side of BJP, I felt insulted. I have told him that he cannot talk like this.”
“He (the governor) is behaving like a block president of BJP. He should understand that he has been nominated to the post.... We are not the servants of anyone,” a combative Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
Banerjee said the Governor spoke to her in connection with a communal incident in the state.
“BJP leaders were meeting him and the Governor is saying whatever he likes,” she said, and asked, “Why should he take one side?” she asked.
“I appeal to the Governor, don’t behave like this.”
“The Governor talked big on law and order. I am not here at the mercy of anyone. I never felt so humiliated and insulted. I even thought of quitting,” she said.
“The post of Governor is a constitutional post and he should act within that framework,” she added.
Tripathi defended himself against the allegation levelled by the chief minister through a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan.
“The Hon’ble Governor is surprised at the attitude and language used by the Hon’ble Chief Minister during the Press conference on Tuesday.
“The talks between the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Hon’ble Governor were confidential in nature and none is expected to disclose it,” the statement said.
It said that the Governor asked the chief minister to ensure peace and law and order by all means.
“The Hon’ble Governor always holds the persons, who occupy the Constitutional positions, in high esteem,” it added.
The statement said that Governor, being the head of the state, is the guardian of all the citizens and not of any particular party or section of society.
The statement said that it was proper for the Governor to bring to the notice of the chief minister any serious grievance made by any member of public or any serious event happening in the state.
“The Hon’ble Governor cannot remain a mute spectator to the affairs in the State,” it said.
State BJP President Dilip Ghosh wondered why the chief minister felt insulted when the Governor inquired about an incident.
“Can’t the Governor ask her why the incident has happened. If the Governor asked her about it, where is the question of her being insulted,” he said.