Sharing the challenges being confronted when a state’s ruling party is not in power at the Centre, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday opened his heart out in the Rajasthan Assembly and said that a Governor is like a punching bag who is also termed as the party’s agent deputed to fulfil the party’s agenda.
Dhankhar was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on the “Role of Governors and MLAs in Furtherance of Democracy”, organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Rajasthan chapter in the state Assembly building.
Addressing the session, Dhankhar said that he is not a “proactive governor” but a “copybook governor”, who firmly believes in the rule of law.
Known for his reported differences with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said, “People might not know but I do share a brother and sister kind of personal relationship with the chief minister.”
“My job is to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution,” he stated.
Dhankhar said that the Governor is the softest target for the state government when it is not in power at the Centre. On the one hand, you are the punching bag and are accused of everything. You can be called the agent of the party and are termed as the person who fulfils the agenda of the Centre.
Dhankhar said “How can the Governor and the Chief Minister fight in public. I have always tried and will continue to cooperate with the government shoulder to shoulder, but this cooperation is not possible with one hand. If there is no communication between the CM and the Governor, then we will deviate from democracy.”
There is a clear provision in the constitution that whatever information the governor asks for from the government, it will be made available to him. Despite this, no information was provided to this Governor despite repeated requests in the last two and a half years. This is a matter of concern for me and everyone, he added.
Dhankhar said a Governor should not be given any work other than his constitutional obligations, which can create a conflict-kind of situation with the state government. The appointment of vice-chancellors is one such thing that creates conflicts, he stressed.
“As and when the appointment matter comes to me, I work with my own wisdom. But when the CM’s suggestion comes, I never apply my mind. I simply agree to the name. Despite this, this Governor suffers. A total of 25 vice-chancellors have been appointed sans my knowledge and sanction,” he said.
“It has been my relentless effort that as a governor, my main responsibility is to support the government but it is not possible with one hand,” he said.
He spoke on a recent controversy over summoning the West Bengal Assembly at 2 a.m. on March 7, whose timing was changed to 2 p.m. after a fresh cabinet proposal.
The controversy over the timing was triggered after he summoned the Assembly at 2 a.m. on the basis of a proposal received from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, which was later clarified as a typographical error.
“Sometimes conflict happens because of ignorance,” he said.
Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi and Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria also addressed the seminar, which was attended by sitting and former MLAs.
In the programme, four MLAs were honoured.
BJP MLA Gypanchand Parakh, independent MLA Sanyam Lodha for 2020, BJP MLA Babulal and Congress MLA Manju Devi for 2021 were honoured.