Mamata government, governor on collision course

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 16:20 hrs

Kolkata, Jan 10 (IANS) The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and Governor M.K. Narayanan were on a collision course Thursday with a senior minister attacking Narayanan for his sharp criticism of the administration over political clashes, and the governor retorting that he stood by his comments.

A day after Narayanan dubbed the recent clashes as "some kind of goondaism", Panchayat and Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee alleged that Narayanan was speaking more like a politician and his comments would provoke people.

"If whatever has appeared in the media is true, I feel it was incorrect on the part of the governor to make such comments regarding the law and order as the state's constitutional head,' said Mukherjee, contending that because of Narayanan's comments, confusion among the people would increase.

"Had he wanted to know the details of the incidents, he should have sought a report from the government, called our officers like the chief secretary, taken all reports, and then spoken on that basis," the minister told reporters at state secretariat, Writers' Buildings.

"He has spoken like a politician. People will misunderstand his comments because he is a Congress-appointed constitutional head. His statements will only provoke the people," Mukherjee said.

Narayanan, however, stuck to his stand.

"I speak the language of a governor," he said on the sidelines of a programme here when a scribe sought his reaction on Mukherjee's comment that he was speaking more like a politician.

"Of course, I do stand by my comment," the governor said, answering another pointed query.

Narayanan's comments Wednesday came in the wake of the attack on opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader and former minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah, allegedly by Trinamool Congress activists led by former legislator Arabul Islam in Bhangar in South 24-Parganas district Sunday.

Following the attack, many have been injured in clashes between Trinamool and CPI-M workers.

Speaking on the sidelines of a programme here Wednesday, Narayanan also asked police and administration to function impartially while arresting the guilty.

"This is not a good political culture. I think this is some kind of goondaism going on here...," he said.

"The last two-three days have been more distressing and very disturbing. This violence should not have taken place."

"We cannot and should not tolerate the violence. A city like Kolkata and state like West Bengal cannot accept this," Narayanan said.

Asked if he was satisfied with the role of police in tackling the clashes, he said: "Clearly, when there is a major law and order situation, there are weaknesses around."

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