The friction between Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee entered a new phase on Thursday, with the Governor claiming that he would have to take a 600-km journey by car today as his request for a helicopter has not found "favourable consideration". In a late evening statement, Mr Dhankar said he has received no response on the matter either from the state Chief Secretary or the Chief Minister.
Ms Banerjee too launched a veiled attack on the Governor. Asked about the role of the Maharashtra Governor in the last few days leading to presidents rule in that state, Ms Banerjee said, "I didn't comment in constitutional posts. But there are some who are behaving just like BJP mouthpiece. In my state also you can see what is going on, just like a parallel administration they want to run."
The press release from Raj Bhavan said the Governor and the first lady will undertake the 600 km journey to Farakka by car to attend a function.
"As per direction, the issue of a helicopter has been flagged to the Chief Secretary for his response which is awaited. Keeping in view the delay involved, a communication in the matter has already been sent by him to the Hon'ble CM but response to that is awaited," the statement read.
Over the last months, the relations between the state's two topmost dignitaries had been marked by frequent acrimonious exchanges.
The last flashpoint was a week ago over the WhatsApp snooping row, when to the Chief Minister's claims of her phone being tapped, the Governor had said, "Many politicians and businessmen have said their privacy is compromised here".
On several occasions, the Governor had claimed that he had been deliberately left out of important functions by the state government.
Last week, Mr Dhankar had said he was not invited for the inauguration for the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival and was concerned about the "attitude" of the state government.
"I am not concerned about not being invited to the Kolkata International Film Festival, but with the attitude (of the state government)," he was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. "You all have seen what happened in the (Durga Puja) carnival... It was unthinkable," he had added.
Mr Dhankar had complained last month that he had not been invited for the state's biggest festival, the Durga Puja, calling it one of the most "painful" moments of his life.
A brief truce had ensued as Ms Banerjee had invited him to her home for Kali Puja.
The Chief Minister had been upset with the Governor over his "rescue" of Union minister Babul Supriyo from Kolkata's premier Jadavpur University, when he was heckled by the students.
Ms Banerjee's government had called his involvement "shocking" and accused him of partisanship. The Chief Minister had said he was a "BJP party man".
"I should not be dragged into inter-party politics," the Governor had responded. "I do not have a partisan approach. Doors of Raj Bhawan are open for anyone who comes to me... Whatever Chief Minister has said it is her prerogative. In a democracy, everyone should have to regard the constitutional posts," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.