West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar today expressed dismay over not being given live television coverage for the second time in five months, describing it as a “sharp deviation” from established practice.
Mr Dhankar seemed to be particularly offended that while his address to the state assembly was not covered live, it was done for the budget presented by state Finance Minister Amit Mitra. “State Finance Minister Dr Mitra’s budget speech was telecast live but the address of the Governor under Article 176, an important occasion, was not allowed live coverage in sharp deviation from practice. The media was also kept away. Leave it to judgement of the people of the state!” he tweeted.
The Governor’s February 7 address to the state assembly was not telecast live, unlike previous years, amid a stand-off with the Mamata Banerjee government over whether he should read the full text of the speech pre-approved by the state cabinet.
Mr Dhankhar had himself ignited the debate by commenting that he could leave out or make additions to his address to the state assembly. However, he finally gave in and read the entire speech that had critical references to the National Population Register, National Register for Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee chose not to get involved in the controversy, saying that it was not her problem to handle. “That’s a different issue. That Speaker (Biman Banerjee) can tell. You can ask the Speaker. It is not my subject,” she said.
Last October, Mr Dhankar had criticised the Mamata Banerjee government for the manner in which he had been “blacked out” from live television coverage of the Durga Puja carnival on Red Road. “I was there for four hours or more. Your first servant was totally blacked out. This is an unusual kind of censorship. Someone called me to say that it was reminiscent of the Emergency,” he had said then.
“I am not untouchable. You can’t have this kind of intolerance,” he said, adding that it took him three days to “recover” from the humiliation. The Governor even claimed that a separate dais had been created for him.
(With inputs from IANS)