West Bengal Governor Ananda Bose's 'sealed letters' triggers war of words
Tensions between West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose and the state's ruling party, Trinamool Congress, have intensified as the governor sent two sealed letters to the Centre and the state government at midnight.
After West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose sent two sealed letters to the Centre and the state government on Saturday midnight, the ruling TMC on Sunday criticized him, accusing him of "deliberately adopting a confrontationist approach on behalf of the BJP". The BJP, on the other hand, accused the ruling party in the state of "humiliating the governor by attacking him for his efforts to clean up the mess in the state's education system".
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said the governor's latest act of sending confidential letters at midnight stems from his wish to be in the "good books of BJP with an eye on a plum posting in New Delhi as a reward".
"The governor is destroying the state's higher education sector by violating all rules, statutes, and constitutional provisions. Despite the state pointing out the anomalies in his action, he appears nonchalant and has adopted a confrontationist stance because of the support of BJP," Sen said.
TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that the governor's penchant for becoming hyper-active at midnight hours requires notice.
"It is clear he is acting at someone's behest and is not listening to anybody else," he said.
Responding to the TMC's allegations, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said, "The governor is trying to clean up the mess created by TMC in the higher education sector in the last decade. He is working overtime to end the era of politicization, intimidation, and threat on campuses of state universities."
"The ruling party is humiliating the governor in the most unsavoury manner as it does not like his initiative for improving the education sector, it is not concerned about the fate of students who suffer due to the chaotic situation in several state universities which remain headless owing to the TMC's blatant partisan policy to put its own candidates in the VC's post," Majumdar told reporters.
The governor's letter-writing exercise came after Education Minister Bratya Basu accused him of trying to "destroy" the higher education system in the state and running a "puppet regime" in universities.
Bose had earlier warned of "much bigger action" at midnight in the backdrop of the state education minister's severe criticism and attacks.
As the clock neared 12 am, a Raj Bhavan official said Bose had "signed two confidential sealed letters," one for the state secretariat, Nabanna, and another for the Centre. On the content of the letters, the official said that "it would be disclosed later".
While hinting that the subject could be the recent war of words between the governor and the state government, the official said: "The governor signed two confidential letters tonight, one for Nabanna and the other for Delhi. You will come to know of the content of the letters later."
Incidentally, Bose signed the letters a couple of hours after holding an elaborate meeting with Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi at Raj Bhavan.
The topic of the meeting, however, was not disclosed by either the state government or the Raj Bhavan.
Earlier, on Saturday, Bose had warned of "much bigger action" at midnight.
"Wait for the stroke of midnight today. You will see action," Bose had told reporters on the sidelines of a program.
Minutes after Bose's comment, Basu, without naming the governor, mocked him by calling him the "new vampire in town" and cautioned the people to "beware of him".
"See till midnight, see the action BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE! New Vampire in the town! Citizens, please watch yourselves. Eagerly waiting for the 'Rakkhas Prahar' (time of the monster), according to Indian Mythology!," Basu posted on X, formerly Twitter.
In the continuing war of words between the West Bengal government and the Raj Bhavan over the appointment of interim vice-chancellors in universities, Basu had on Friday accused the governor of trying to "destroy" the higher education system in the state.
The minister also charged the governor, who is the chancellor of state-run universities, with running a "puppet regime" in the varsities and threatening registrars not to hold meetings with the higher education department.
"The honourable governor wants to run a puppet regime by appointing people according to his whims to satisfy someone's ego. He is making a constant effort to dismantle the higher education system," Basu said.
The West Bengal Educationists' Forum, in a statement, described Bose's comment on midnight action as "threats".
"It is unfortunate to witness the chancellor issuing threats of staging a midnight drama of revenge against the educationists and the officials and functionaries of the state higher education department," the statement said.
The governor, in his capacity as the chancellor of state-run universities, recently appointed interim vice-chancellors for eight varsities, including the prestigious Presidency University, MAKAUT, and the University of Burdwan, a step that was severely criticized by the chief minister as a bid to interfere with the running of state-administered universities.
Sources said the interim vice-chancellors of eight other universities have also been finalized and appointment letters "will be issued soon".