On Wednesday, former bureaucrat C V Ananda Bose took oath as governor of West Bengal and immediately got a taste of Bengal politics as a political row erupted over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) objecting to the seating arrangement at Raj Bhavan. The Congress skipped the ceremony citing a violation of “principles of democracy”.
Bose was administered the oath of office by the chief justice of Calcutta high court Prakash Shrivastava in the presence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and speaker Biman Banerjee.
A retired Kerala cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1977 batch, Bose was named the new governor on November 17, replacing Manipur governor La Ganesan, who was holding the additional charge of Bengal since July after the incumbent Jagdeep Dhankar got elected as Vice-President of India. Besides Banerjee, the event was attended by her cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats.
Leader of Opposition in the state legislative assembly and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari skipped the ceremony, alleging the TMC government “insulted” him by allotting him a seat beside two MLAs who defected to the ruling party without resigning from the BJP after last year’s elections.
Adhikari and state BJP chief Sukanta Majumar were allotted seats behind the ones earmarked for TMC Rajya Sabha members.
Adhikari said, “Protocols were violated on purpose to insult us. Majumdar is a Lok Sabha member and the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly and enjoys the same rank as a cabinet minister. How can they sit beside Krishna Kumar Kalyani and Biswajit Das, facing defection charges for joining the TMC?”.
The BJP leader met the governor later in the day. “C V Ananda Bose believes in nationalism. I presented a book to him. We hope he will be a custodian of democracy just like Dhankhar,” he said.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also skipped the swearing-in ceremony and wrote a letter to the governor, seeking his intervention over the alleged misuse of power by the state administration.
He alleged the ruling party is threatening Congress councillors at Jhalda municipality in Purulia district after they won a no-confidence motion and retained control over the civic body last week.
“The TMC government plans to employ an administrator for the civic body to keep the Congress out of power. I have requested the new governor to uphold the principles of democracy,” he said.
While TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh countered Adhikari’s claims, he did not comment on Chowdhury’s allegation.