The prolonged standoff between Mamata Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankhar continues as the West Bengal Chief Minister told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday that the governor kept asking about “transparency” in the recruitments made by the state government.
Giving a fiery note in the presence of PM Modi during the virtual inauguration of the second campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) in Kolkata’s New Town, Mamata said, “The governor sent me letters and questioned how we did some recruitments. They don’t even know that this was done on the basis of PM’s advice to hire people from outside.
He also told the Prime Minister that the project he was about to unveil was actually inaugurated by the state government and used as a safe house during the second wave of Covid-19 in Bengal last year.
Governor Dhankhar, who had visited Jaipur on Friday, reacted quickly and responded to Mamata Banerjee’s claim with a tweet.
State BJP also criticized the Chief Minister’s statement before the Prime Minister.
Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said, “This is the first time that a chief minister of a state has said something like this to the prime minister at a public function.”
Trying to substantiate his claim, the governor, who is the representative of the Center in the state, also attached tweet copies of some of the letters he had sent to the West Bengal government on various appointments.
In one such letter dated December 28, 2021, the Governor wrote, “This refers to the notifications relating to engagement of Senior Consultants/Advisors published by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms on November 26, 2021. Serious issues have been raised. Several quarters regarding the matter regarding the lack of transparency, accountability and modalities of the selection process of these consultants. Recruitment in certain categories is already under judicial scrutiny. The mechanism provided in the said notifications is opaque and disregards judicial pronouncements. There is widespread apprehension that such a mechanism calls for the administration to be packed by ‘protected appointments’. There are some worryingly disturbing inputs that do not need to be pointed out at the moment.”
In another letter to the state government on April 19, he mentioned, “It appears that several civil servants belonging to various All India Services such as IAS, IPS and IFS have been appointed post-retirement to various posts, Which is neither according to them . Not subject to any constitutional mandate nor any statutory provision of law, but within the scope of administrative or executive functions. Since every executive function of the State is discharged by the formal structure of the State, ie the concerned Administrative Department of the State Government, the justification and necessity of the creation of such posts as well as the public services performed by such retirees. All India Service officers are not very clear.”
Dhankhar has had a sharp relationship with the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal since he took over as governor in July 2019, with both sides leaving no chance to attack each other.
In his third and fourth letters dated June 10 and June 23, 2021, the Governor had mentioned, “Several persons, including retired officers, are presently in the employment of the State Government as OSDs in a special rank with pay and allowances. Concerns have been expressed in well-meaning quarters about the lack of transparency and accountability in effective recruitment in service of permanent, temporary and ad-hoc nature in the state.
The governor asked the chief secretary of the state to respond within a week to all the letters but he claimed that till now no satisfactory reply has come from the West Bengal government.