The Governor said Banerjee's absence from the programe "stunned" him and he was at "a loss for words".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday called on Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhawan here which she later termed as a “courtesy visit”. Banerjee was accompanied by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, Home Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, state police chief Virendra and city police Commissioner Anuj Sharma. The chief minister headed straight to the Raj Bhawan after attending the Independence Day parade held at the Red Road earlier in the day.
“As we will not be able to attend the programme scheduled (at Raj Bhawan in the evening, we came here after the Red Road event even though we had no appointment. “We had ‘adda’ (Bengali word for chat or conversation) with the Governor and greeted him on the occasion of Independence Day,” Banerjee said after the hour-long meeting. However, later in the evening, absence of the chief minister from customary function at the Raj Bhawan drew criticism from Dhankhar. The Governor said Banerjee’s absence from the programe “stunned” him and he was at “a loss for words”.
“Absence of CM and officials @MamataOfficial on occasion of Independence Day celebration at Raj Bhawan has like many startled and stunned me. We need to rise to occasion as respect to freedom fighters who gave their all to secure for us freedom and democracy. I am at a loss for words,” Dhakhar tweeted in the evening after the party.
“The vacant seat meant for CM @MamataOfficial at celebration of Independence Day at Raj Bhawan speaks volumes -has created unwholesome situation that is not in sync with rich culture and ethos of WB. “There is just no rationale for this unbecoming stance,” Dhankhar tweeted along with a photograph where he was seen sitting next to the vacant chair meant for Mamata Banerjee.
He stated that the traditional “At Home” programme was organised keeping in mind the Covid-19 protocol of maintaining social distance and for that the number of invitees was kept below 35. “Due to Covid scenario attendance at traditional ‘AT HOME’ at Rajbhawan was kept <35. Social distancing and protocol #COVID-19 was maintained. It would have been befitting if CM and officials @MamataOfficial had participated. Their action not in sync with sanctity of occasion,” he tweeted.
A high tea was organised in the sprawling lawn of the Raj Bhawan to commemorate the day. Chief Justice, Sr Judges, Leader of opposition Abdul Mannan, CPM leader Dr Sujan Chakrabarti, top brass of Army, Air Force, Navy, BSF, Coast Guard as also former Air Chief Arup Raha and former Nagaland Governor Shyam Datta were amongst distinguished persons present on the occasion. Dhankar tweeted. On several occasions, the state government and the Governor have crossed swords on a host of issues.