West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday asked state minister and Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee to publicly apologise after he questioned his wife's presence at public meetings, news agency PTI reported.
Mr Chatterjee, who is Bengal's education minister, had said that the presence of Jagdeep Dhankhar's wife Sudesh at government meetings was "unconstitutional".
"Is it not unconstitutional to bring a third person to official functions? Did you ever ask the Governor if he thinks he is on a PR exercise with his wife?" Mr Chatterjee was quoted as saying as by PTI.
The governor hit back at the Trinamool leader, saying that his wife goes to events only when she is invited. "The honourable minister is terribly wrong. That's a perverted concept by him. He needs to look within. The first lady graces occasions when invited," Mr Dhankhar said.
"Since I happen to be the lady's husband, I am not saying more. Had it been another woman, I would have reacted far more severely. Our culture doesn't allow it. And I will appeal personally, please think before you speak out. These are dangerous areas. I am sure he will reflect and publicly apologise," Mr Dhankhar added. He also drew Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attention to her party leader's comment and said, "The chief minister is a woman. She must learn the sensitive aspect of this."
The governor's ties with the Trinamool Congress have been far from friendly, especially after his open criticism of the state government as well as Mamata Banerjee. Recently, the two sparred over anti-Citizenship Act protests in the state, with the Governor asking her to "personally update" him on the situation. Mamata Banerjee, in response, told him that briefing him was not her administration's priority. Her protest against the controversial law in December was also dubbed "unconstitutional" by the Governor.
(With inputs from PTI)