West Bengal: TMC to seek Jagdeep Dhankhar’s removal, roll back of IAS cadre rule in Parliament

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Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Thursday directed her party MPs to demand the removal of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and a rollback of the Centre’s proposed amendment to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) cadre rules in the upcoming Budget Session of the Parliament.

Addressing a virtual meeting with Trinamool MPs, Chief Minister Banerjee further said that she had also decided take full control of administrative as well as her party’s organisational matters. The remark assumes significance at a time when a section of party leaders has been having been pointing fingers at each other.

The TMC chief, who was also expected to raise her nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s ‘Diamond Harbour’ model of Covid management, which drew criticism from party MP Kalyan Banerjee, did not speak a word on it. However, she did advice MP Aparoopa Poddar to be more restrained while speaking to media persons. Poddar recently called for the removal of Banerjee as the chief whip of Trinamool Parliamentary Party after he openly criticised Abhishek’s ‘Diamond Harbour model’.

A senior Trinamool, who was present at the meeting, said, “Our leader told Aparoopa not to make such comments.”

“She also instructed the MPs to raise the demand for the Governor’s removal as he has been speaking in BJP’s voice. He openly criticised the chief minister and her government on the Assembly premises with a clear political motive. This isn’t expected of a Governor,” he added.

The chief minister and the Governor have been at odds from the time he took up residence at Raj Bhavan. Recent weeks have seen a further escalation of the war of words, with Dhankhar targeting the government over several state projects.

The Trinamool hit back, claiming that the Governor has been sitting on several Bills that were sent to him for his assent, thereby delaying proposed changes to many state legislations.

The Governor has also refused to sign the Howrah Municipality Bifurcation Bill resulting in the delay in the elections to the Howrah and Bally civic bodies.
Speaker Biman Banerjee also complained to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla against the Governor’ ‘excessive interference’ in parliamentary matters and the functioning of the Assembly.

The Trinamool had also accused Dhankhar of indulging in nepotism by appointing several people close to him as officers on special duty (OSDs) and also claiming his alleged link to a Hawala scam.

In response to the Centre’s proposal to amend the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 13 claiming that the proposed change was ‘draconian’ and ‘against the foundations of the federal polity’.

She further said that the amendment, if effected, will hang on the heads of IAS officers like a ‘Damocles’ sword’ and create a ‘fear psychosis’ which will impact the officers’ performance, effectiveness and accountability to the state government.

Speaking to reporters after attending the meeting chaired by the party supremo, Trinamool Lok Sabha MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “The central government is putting hurdles before the country’s federal structure. We have always opposed this tendency of the Centre. Now, they have proposed to amend the IAS cadre rules which will give the Centre absolute power to transfer IAS officers unilaterally without the consent of state governments. We will oppose this move. We will hold discussions with other political parties which are also against any amendment to the IAS Cadre Rules before opposing it on the floor (of both Houses of the Parliament).”

On Banerjee’s direction to the MPs to raise the demand for Governor’s removal, BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya said, “The Trinamool can introduce a motion in Parliament seeking the Governor’s removal. It will be for the Central government and the President to do the needful. They are under the impression that West Bengal is not a part of India.”

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “We are ethically against the post of Governor. However, the TMC wants the Governor to say what it wants him to. They are angry as he is refusing to do so. While we don’t agree with everything the Governor says, he isn’t entirely wrong either.”





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