Bengal CM’s letter to the Governor dated April 23, 2020

Here is the letter written by the Bengal CM to the Governor in an easy-to-read format.

Makes for fascinating reading.

When you have facts in your favour, you don’t need to scream.Students, here is a benchmark for powerful communication.

Worth a read:

No.30 CM/2020

23rd April,2020

Respected Governor,

This has reference to your letter addressed-to me of 20/4/2020, my letter addressed to you of 21/4/2020 and your further SMS to me at around 7 am of 22/04/2020.

Though these are self-explanatory, I am attaching copies of two letters in the main body of the letter and your letter dated 20/04/2020 is, attached for your ready reference.

Your  last  SMS  of 22/4/2020,  sent  by  you  around 7 am, is so unprecedented in tone, tenor and language that it deserves to be reproduced in full:

“Dear Chief Minister,

Your response yesterday has enormously shocked me.  It is insulting to the office I hold. We both are constitutional functionaries in the state. It is not a fiefdom of an individual to be run in whimsical manner.

Your response makes the position of constitutional head irrelevant. THIS IS NOT SO. I have over the months taken all indignities in a- spirited manner hoping there will be amends. This letter dashes my optimism. My patient mode and accommodating approach has been inappropriately evaluated at your end.

I still find it expedient to give a try in the interest of the people of the State.

So please call me URGENTLY as in this crisis period of immeasurable dimensions I would do my utmost to avoid a formal response to this most unthoughtful unconstitutional communication.


Jagdeep Dhankhrar”

An uninformed reader reading the above might well think that my letter of 21/4/20, to which the above is, your response, has involved some unspeakable (un)constitutional sin or has used derogatory language qua you. That is certainly what your expostulation suggests. Amazingly, my four line letter of 21/4/20 to you, to which you replied as quoted above, reads as follows:

“Respected Governor,

I would like to thank for your letter dated 20th April, 2020.

You would,  no doubt appreciate that the entire State Government machinery is now engaged to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

This is for your kind information.

With regards,

Mamata Banerjee”

The above four lines do  not even  remotely or by any stretch of imagination have a whisper which may be construed or misconstrued or twisted  or  distorted  to  be  an  insult to  anyone  or  involve  the  use  of unparliamentary  words  or  use  of  objectionable  language  or  content.

Again on  21/04/2020 you made a statement in audio-visual media in Kolkata itself – an unprecedented event to be organised by a Governor. In that your, inter alia, purported, in your own words, “to warn me” and again, in your own words, warned me “not to do centre bashing every morning.”

You appear to have forgotten that I am an elected Chief Minister of a proud Indian state. You also seem to have forgotten that you are a nominated Governor. You may continue to ignore all advice and inputs given by me and my council of ministers (as you appear to have taken upon yourself to do since the day of your appointment), but at least you should not ignore the wise words of Babasaheb Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly on 31/5/1949:

“We felt that the powers of the Governor were so limned, so nominal, his position so ornamental that probably very few would come forward to stand for election.”

On the same day, Dr Ambedkar again said “If the Governor is a ‘purely constitutional Governor with  no more powers than what we contemplate expressly to give him in the Act, and has no power to interfere with the internal administration of a Provincial Ministry,  I  personally do not see any very fundamental objection to the principle of nomination.”

On 2/6/1949, (Dr Ambedkar again repeated: “The first thing l would like the House to bear in mind is this. The Governor under the Constitution has no functions which he cars discharge by himself: no functions at all.”

Just like you, hive consigned such wise Words about our constitutional boundaries to oblivion, you also seem unaware of the Sarkaria Commission’s categorical observations:

• “4.6.12 A Governor so selected may well seek to override the powers of his Chief Minister, leading to friction between them and distortion of the system of responsible government. Such a Governor can hardly be expected to function as a constitutional head of the State. This was the reason why the Constitution- framers gave up the proposal to have an elected Governor.

• 4.2.06 The Constituent Assembly discussed at length the various provisions relating to the Governor. Two important issues were considered. The first issue was whether there should be an elected Governor. It was recognized that the co-existence of an elected Governor and a Chief Minister responsible to the Legislature might lead to friction and consequent weakness in administration. The concept of an elected Governor was therefore given up in favour of a nominated Governor.”

In its specific recommendations, the Sarkaria Commission further said:

• “4.16.02 It is desirable that a politician from the ruling party at the Union is not appointed as Governor of a State which is being run by some other party or a combination of other parties.

• 4.16.03 In order to ensure effective consultation with the State Chief Minister in the selection of a person to be appointed as Governor the procedure of consultation  should  be  prescribed  in  the  Constitution  itself  by  suitably amending Article 15

•   4.16.20 The Governor, while sending ad hoc or fortnightly reports to the President should normally take his Chief, Minister into confidence, unless there are overriding reasons to the contrary.”

In view of above, you have to judge for yourself whether

a) your direct attacks on me ;

b) your direct attacks on my ministers and officers;

c) your tone, tenor and language, which, in the mildest words of extreme moderation, deserve to be characterised as unparliamentary;

d) your holding of press conferences against the state government itself (of which you are Governor!);

e) your repeated and consistent interference in the administration of my ministries and departments;

Make it clear as to who has flagrantly transgressed constitutional dharma and even basic norms of decency between constitutional functionaries.

Your expostulation leaves me with no option but to release these-letters in the public domain to leave it to the people of this state and of this nation to judge foi\themselveS as to ‘who has done what and who is in breach of elementary norms of constitutional behaviour.

With regards,

Yours sincerely

Mamata Banerjee

Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar

Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal

Raj Bhawan,Kolkata-700062.

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