Face-off between Mamata, Jagdeep over citizenship law intensifies | The Daily Star
11:35 AM, December 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:07 PM, December 18, 2019

Face-off between Mamata, Jagdeep over citizenship law intensifies

The face-off between firebrand West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has escalated ever since the amended Citizenship Bill became a law last week.

Mamata, who has entrenched herself as a fierce opponent of the controversial new law, has brushed aside Dhankar’s repeated advise not to take the “unconstitutional and inflammatory” action of taking hitting the streets in protest against the citizenship law and led two rallies in Kolkata in the last two days.

She is scheduled to spearhead another march from Howrah to Dharmatala this afternoon, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

The new citizenship law, passed by the parliament and approved by President Ram Nath Kovind, makes it easier for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, to acquire Indian nationality but has been slammed as “divisive” because it leaves out Muslims from those countries for the benefit.

Mamata kept the Governor, the titular constitutional head of the state, waiting all day yesterday for a meeting as she did not turn up to personally update him on the current situation in West Bengal over the violent protests against the controversial citizenship law.

Replying to a missive from the Governor for personally apprising him of the situation, Mamata wrote back a letter saying the priority of her government was to run the administration at a crucial time in the wake of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. 

West Bengal witnessed arson and violent street protests in several areas in the last five days. Five empty trains and many buses were set on fire, several rail stations vandalised and highways and roads blocked by protesters, resulting in cancellation of train services in many parts of the state causing suffering to ordinary commuters.

Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with the state government on a range of issues, wanted Mamata to meet and apprise him on the violence after the states’ top two officers had failed to meet the Governor on Monday evening despite a summon from the Raj Bhawan.

A senior BJP leader from Haryana, Dhankhar, who was waiting to meet Mamata, even chose to skip an event in North 24 Parganas district near Kolkata.

The BJP criticised the state government for trying to "undermine" the post of Governor as the constitutional head of the state.

"Is this the way a Governor of the state being treated? Neither the chief minister nor the senior officials are not briefing him. The state government is trying to hide something that is why they are not facing the Governor," state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.

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