Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, condemning Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's comments after an attack on BJP chief JP Nadda's convoy, asked her to withdraw them and warned today: "Madam, please don't play with fire".
Mr Dhankhar this morning submitted a report to the central government on the "deteriorating" law and order situation in Bengal, after which the state's police chief and Chief Secretary have been summoned on Monday. "Yesterday, the leader of a national political party was blatantly attacked. And state actors were involved. Violators worked with the protection and immunity of the administration and the police. This is like a death-knell to democracy. I have written so in my feedback," he told reporters.
Mr Nadda's convoy was attacked with bricks, stones and sticks near Kolkata on Thursday afternoon. Some leaders were injured and cars were damaged in the incident, which the BJP has blamed on supporters of the state's ruling Trinamool Congress. The incident took place at Diamond Harbour, the parliamentary constituency of the Chief Minister's nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
Video clips showed rocks smashing through windscreens and windows as the cars moved on a crowded road in Diamond Harbour, around 60 km from Kolkata. The BJP said its leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy were injured.
"The events that happened yesterday are most unfortunate," said Mr Dhankhar.
He detailed how he had summoned the police chief and Chief Secretary over the incident and alleged that they came without any report. "I asked them to prepare a detailed report and report to me. They came without any report, without any inputs. It is shameful. They are bureaucrats. They have a moral duty. I was shocked, and I was shamed. It was an extremely painful moment for Constitutional duty," he said.
Mr Dhankhar also hit out at Mamata Banerjee over her comments deriding Mr Nadda and questioning whether the attack was staged for political gains ahead of state polls next year. "They (BJP) has no other work. At times Home Minister is here, other times it's Chaddha, Nadda, Fadda, Bhaddha is here. When they have no audience, they call their workers for doing nautanki," Ms Banerjee had said.
"I take a very serious note of the statement made by the chief minister. How can a responsible chief minister, believing in rule of law, believing in Constitution, and believing in rich Bengali culture, talk the way she did. I appeal to her - madam, please reflect, please maintain some dignity and grace, and take back those words," he said.
The Governor also referred to Ms Banerjee blaming the incident on "outsiders making trouble".
"Madam Chief Minister, India is one, Indians are one, please do not play with or fan this kind of fire. You are under oath of the constitution, please respect it. Who is an outsider, who is an insider, please do not indulge in these kinds of statements," he said.