Kolkata: Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Sunday demitted office as West Bengal Governor at the end of an eventful five-year tenure marked by frequent confrontation with the ruling Left Front government on law and order issues, especially during the Nandigram violence.
One of his last acts as West Bengal Governor was a visit to former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu to say farewell. The two knew each other since 1992 and shared a mutual respect. When Gandhi became Governor in 2004, Basu had already retired as chief minister.
"It has been a privilege for me to have known Jyoti Basu since1992 when I met him in England. It has been a great pleasure for me to have the benefit of his presence and guidance on so many matters over these years and particularly the last five years in our state West Bengal," Gandhi said. (Read: Departure-eve message of Gopalkrishna Gandhi)
But Gandhi's relationship with the Buddhadeb-led Left Front government has been controversial.
In December 2006, Gandhi visited Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee who was on a hunger strike against land acquisition in Singur, offending the Left.
In March 2007, when 14 people were killed in police firing at Nandigram, Gandhi said: "The news of deaths by police firing in Nandigram has filled me with a sense of cold horror. Was this spilling of human blood not avoidable?"
Later in November that year, he one again slammed the Left Front for fresh violence in Nandigram. "The manner in which the recapture of Nandigram villages is being attempted is totally unlawful and unacceptable," Gandhi had said.
In September 2008, Gandhi tried to mediate between Buddhadeb and Mamata on the Tata's Nano project in Singur, but failed and his intervention drew flak from the Left.
And his statement in August this year on post election clashes in West Bengal, which he called "a veritable tandava of political violence", also came under fire from the Left.
Even Gandhi's farewell tea party on Sunday also saw some controversy. While Buddhadeb attended, Mamata stayed away, visiting the Governor later, after almost everyone had left. Clearly, the stormy times Gandhi saw during his tenure as Governor are set to continue even after his departure.