Bengal Governor Leaves Assembly Without Ending Speech Amid BJP Protests

Mr Dhankhar was forced to halt his speech just five minutes after starting because of the commotion, and was escorted to his car by Speaker Biman Banerjee

Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are locked in a feud (File)

Highlights

  • Chaos erupted in Assembly as BJP shouted protests over post-poll violence
  • Mr Dhankhar was forced to stop less than 10 minutes into his address
  • The Bengal Assembly will reconvene at 3.30 pm.
Kolkata:

Chaos erupted in the Bengal Assembly on Friday afternoon as governor Jagdeep Dhankhar began his speech - the opening address of the new Bengal Assembly session. Opposition BJP MLAs held up placards and shouted protests ostensibly over post-poll violence, but sources said this was part of their strategy - to ensure the governor would not have to read his whole speech.

Mr Dhankhar was forced to stop less than 10 minutes into his address and was escorted to his vehicle by Speaker Biman Banerjee. The Assembly will reconvene at 3.30 pm.

The governor and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have been at loggerheads for most of the three years he has been in the post. They have fought over several issues, including (most recently) fake Covid vaccination camps, a 1996 hawala scam, and violence after the Trinamool's election win.

That feud extended to the contents of Mr Dhankhar's speech today; Trinamool leaders feared he would deviate from the draft sent to him by the state government to launch yet another attack.

Such a deviation, it was suggested, could invite protests from the ruling party.

BJP leaders, meanwhile, were expecting just such an eventuality - they expected Mr Dhankhar to continue his attacks on Ms Banerjee and the law and order situation in the state.

They, it was suggested, could protest if he did not mention this.

News agency PTI quoted Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition, as saying they were forced to protest as there was no mention of post-poll violence in the copy circulated among MLAs.

The governor is not bound to read everything the government writes in their draft.

"If they write anything in the address which is unconstitutional... will I read that? Every address has to conform to constitutional parameters and boundaries," Mr Dhankhar had said on Monday.

Yesterday the Trinamool claimed links between the organisers of fake vaccine camps in Kolkata - which the BJP have, in turn, linked to the ruling party, and Mr Dhankhar.

On Monday Mamata Banerjee accused Mr Dhankhar of being a "corrupt man"; "This governor's name was in the Jain Hawala case. But they have cleared it from the court. There is a PIL. But the PIL is pending. What you want to know? He is a corrupt man, I am sorry to say," she said.

For his part, in May, moments after Ms Banerjee took oath for the third time, the governor chose to raise the violence and reminded her of her duty to control law and order in the state.

With input from PTI