Blacked-out at Puja carnival, recall Emergency: Bengal Guv

Kolkata: Goddess Durga idol procession during the Durga Puja carnival at Red Road in Kolkata

Kolkata,  In a fresh flashpoint with West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee government, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar alleged on Tuesday that he was “totally blacked out” during the October 11 Durga Puja carnival here and called it “an unusual kind of censorship… reminiscent of the Emergency”.

Breaking his silence on the issue three days after the showpiece carnival where over 70 big ticket Durga puja organisers took part in the immersion procession on Indira Gandhi Sarani (erstwhile Red Road), Dhankhar said he was “deeply hurt” over the treatment meted out to him and slammed it as “uncultured”.

The Governor used strong language while not taking any names, but it was apparent that his target was the state government which hosted the event.

“What has hurt me, hurt my heart deeply is the treatment meted out to me. a I am deeply hurt and disturbed, the insult was not to me, insult was to the culture of West Bengal.

“For four hours and more I was there. And your first servant was totally blacked out! This is an unusual kind of censorship. How can you black out a person holding this position after inviting him? Someone told me it is reminiscent of the Emergency. It has taken me three days to recover from this injury to my hurt,” Dhnakhar said on the sidelines of a programme here.

Praising the state for its culture, he said: “But If they act in this uncultured manner, I don’t know why they did it, who did it, it is also very painful to me.”

Dhankhar said despite attending the event for over four hours, “not for a second the first servant was shown on television.

“I am not an untouchable. You can’t have that kind of intolerance. What happened has put me to shame, because no person in the state of West Bengal will approve of it.”

The Trinamool Congress, however, brushed aside the allegations.

“Do we have to respond to everything the Governor says? Let him say whatever he wants to,” said Trinamool Secretary General and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee.

But the BJP backed the Governor.

“After inviting the Governor, they gave him a seat where his visuals cannot be shown. He was there for over four hours, but his presence could not be felt. He was isolated, sidelined.

“He has said this sort of treatment is insulting for any constitutional head or for that matter any eminent person. He is right,” said state BJP President Dilip Ghosh.

CPI-M MLA Tanmoy Bhattacharya said his party saw no need for the post of the Governor or the carnival, but said once invited, the Governor should be shown due respect.

“We feel there is no need for the post of Governor. And there is no need for this programme (Kolkata Durga carnival) also. But when the Governor has been invited to this programme, he must be given his due respect,” he said.

The Governor’s attack on Tuesday is only the latest episode in the serial stand-offs between the state government and Dhankhar since the latter was sworn in on July 30. The frictions started over the Governor’s visit to the Jadavpur University to “rescue” Union Minister Babul Supriyo who was heckled by students.

Then when Dhankhar went to Siliguri in north Bengal wishing to hold an official meeting there, state ministers and officials, as also police officers boycotted the programme.

The Government also went hammer and tongs at the state administration in connection with the killing of three members of a family in Murhsiadabad district’s Jiaganj. The RSS claimed one of the victims used to attend its weekly Milan programme, but the police denied any political angle. On Tuesday, the police claimed to have cracked the case after arresting “the killer”, a mason.