Mamata Banerjee’s totalitarian, arbitrary style of governance has been clear from Day one of her swearing in as West Bengal CM in 2011. Having picked up from where CPM left off, she has taken West Bengal’s political culture of violence, bloodshed and intimidation of opponents to new depths.
In her latest blow to constitutional decorum, CM Mamata Banerjee decided to block Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on twitter, saying she has been “disturbed” by his tweets.
One of the few government functionaries who has withstood Banerjee’s capricious and fascist ways is Governor JB Dhankar – a senior advocate of the Supreme Court and an ex-Lok Sabha MP. After being appointed WB Governor in July 2019, he experienced first-hand the complete break down of democracy and constitutional norms in the border state.
The political violence that was a norm during past elections, reached a never-before-seen crescendo during the 2021 assembly elections. What followed after the election results were announced on May 2, 2021 sent a chill down the collective spine of every Bharatiya. A brutal pogrom was unleashed on Hindu workers and supporters of the Opposition BJP – around 50 people were murdered, some in front of their family members, and a targeted campaign of sexual violence was unleashed that left hundreds raped and an even bigger number molested – 7000 women were sexually assaulted, one fact-finding team led by a retired High Court Chief Justice found.
Governor Dhankar was the sole constitutional authority that spoke openly about the plight of the victims of this shocking post-poll pogrom. He visited the camps where frightened and scarred Hindus were huddled – reduced to refugees in their own state. He was moved to tears as people narrated their woes of how they had been targeted by TMC’s goons and then abandoned to their fate by an administration that was hand-in-glove with their oppressors.
Mamata Banerjee tried every trick in her book – calling the Governor an ‘agent of BJP’, humiliating him at every turn, even having her lackey MP Kalyan Banerjee threaten the Governor with arrest after his retirement. But Governor Dhankhar has persisted in ploughing a lone furrow against her fascism.
The signs were clear right from the outset – in In November 2011, barely six months into office, CM Mamata Banerjee had stormed into Bhowanipore police station to free two Trinamool activists who were in custody for attacking policemen. This Feb 2013 article titled ‘Hands tied, police seethe’ shows the frustration and demoralization of the WB police force due to Mamata’s anarchy:
“It is extremely humiliating for police to stand with hands tied. We have become virtually defenceless and are at the mercy of hooligans patronized by Trinamool. We are issued guns but cannot use them,” an ACP said in frustration. Another senior officer was even more bitter. “The force has been turned into a bunch of puppets. The clear signal it sends out to criminals is that they needn’t fear police,” he said.
In any self-respecting country, democratic or otherwise, a public servant like Mamata Banerjee would have been dismissed long back and prosecuted for her crimes against her citizens and the nation.