Freedom to express views is a golden gift of the Constitution and intolerance for it in any form can destroy the democratic fabric of the country, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said on Sunday.
Mr Dhankhar's comments came close on the heels of West Bengal Congress spokesman Sanmoy Bandopadhyay's arrest over alleged criticism of the TMC government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media.
"Expressions of your view point is a golden gift of the Constitution and its intolerance in any form is destructive of democracy. Let's learn decent ways to disagree one another. Intolerance by structured mechanism is painfully worrying (sic)," he said in a tweet without naming anyone.
Expressions of your view point is a golden gift of the Constitution and its intolerance in any form is destructive of democracy. Let's learn decent ways to disagree one another. Intolerance by structured mechanism is painfully worrying.- Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) October 20, 2019
The governor has been on a collision course with the Trinamool Congress government in the state since he ''rescued'' Union minister Babul Supriyo who was mobbed by angry students at the Jadavpur University on September 19.
Reacting to this, the Trinamool Congress said there was no need to give reply to each and every utterance of Mr Dhankhar, while the opposition BJP and the Congress blamed the ruling party to have failed to give due respect to the post of the governor.
TMC secretary general and state minister Partha Chatterjee said, "There is no need to respond to every single utterance of the governor. We don''t have the will to hog newspaper headlines every day."
"The TMC is attacking Dhankhar in a planned manner to intimidate him, to stop him from being the vigilant governor of the people of West Bengal. They are trying to corner Dhankhar from all sides but they won't succeed," BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.
Mr Sinha said Mr Dhankhar, a former Supreme Court lawyer, cannot be silenced by the ruling dispensation.
State Congress president Somen Mitra said the TMC government has failed to give due respect to the post of the governor.
He, however, said the frequent stand-offs between Mr Dhankhar and the state's ministers in the past couple of days over different issues appeared inappropriate and childish.
On September 19, Babul Supriyo was shown black flags and heckled by a section of students at the university. He was also prevented from leaving the campus, prompting Dhankhar to rush there. A group of men, allegedly ABVP workers, also vandalised properties of the JU on that day.
TMC leaders had alleged that the governor, who is also the chancellor of the university, visited the campus without taking the state government into confidence.
A fresh war of words erupted last week when TMC minister Subrata Mukherjee criticised Mr Dhankhar for seeking a security cover upgrade "without consulting" the state.
Mr Bandopadhyay's arrest on Thursday sparked outrage among all major opposition parties in Bengal.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, had said, "The arrest of Bandopadhyay is a classic example of intolerance of the highest order. Sanmay was arrested from his home for criticising the state government."
A section of BJP leaders visited his residence on Saturday to express solidarity with him.
Reacting to his allegations, senior TMC leader and party chief whip in West Bengal Assembly, Nirmal Ghosh, said, "Bandopadhyay has been arrested as there are several criminal charges against him. It has nothing to do with criticism of the state government."