The tussle between the Chief Minister of the State Government of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee and the Governor of the same, Jagdeep Dhankar is an on-going occurrence. Unhappy with the administration of the state government in the Department of Education, Dhankar claimed that schools and universities in the state of West Bengal were faced with “shortcomings” from the government. “As the chancellor of a large number of universities I have understood that there is a pressure on the vice-chancellors from both the government and the chancellor. I have made it clear to them that we must look at universities as temples,” he said.
A brief ceasefire between the two, witnessed in the celebrations of Kali Puja, failed to mend frosty ties that keep worsening with time. The row is believed to stem from the fact that Mamata Banerjee did not cater to the Governor’s request of a chopper to travel to attend the silver jubilee celebration of S.N.H. College at Farakka in Murshidabad district, on Thursday. A request was initially lodged with the state’s chief secretary followed by the chief minister herself, both of whom did not respond to him. A statement was issued from Raj Bhavan on Thursday that said, “About 600 km of a journey in the same day is being taken by Governor Dhankhar as the request for a helicopter made to the state government well in time has not found so far favourable considerations.” Commenting on this, Mamata Banerjee said that she did not understand why the governor required a chopper to travel a distance of 600 kms and hence, refused to spend taxpayer’s money over it.
Mamata Banerjee and West Bengal Governor, Jagdeep Dhankar have been at a tug-of-war over administrations of higher educational institutes in the state for almost a fortnight now. Beginning with Dhankar’s desire to meet members of the Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) was followed by Mamata Banerjee claiming she would like a “get together” of teachers of state-run and state-aided institutes. What followed was a war of words, the two calling names out to each other and clawing to maintain their territory.
A session at the Merchant of Commerce and Industry with Jagdeep Dhankar, he expressed that the state government does not have a big role in matters of universities. He hinted at the fact that instead of fighting for an upper hand, they should unite over improving the education scenario in the state. It could not have been better said by the Governor. A political battle is ensuing between the two with one calling the other a “BJP mouthpiece” and the other, simply adding fuel to the fire. Not only is this unconstitutional, but this behaviour also has not been received very well by the people in the state. However, given Mamata Banerjee’s history with governors, it is not very surprising.