On May 2, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had written to the state’s Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar asking him to not dream of a diarchy in Bengal and to stop his efforts to “usurp powers”. She added in the end that she “reserved the right” to not reply to his “adjectives” since her time should better be utilised to fight the pandemic.
Dhankhar and Banerjee’s angry exchange of letters has stopped since. However, an unprecedented online squabble has been taking place between the top Trinamool Congress leadership and Jagdeep Dhankhar over the past few days.
The current war of words is over a video of decomposed bodies being taken into a van in Kolkata that was shared widely on social media, claiming the bodies were of those who had died from Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This video had led Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to tweet saying these were “disposal of dead bodies with heartless, indescribable insensitivity”. Kolkata Police later tweeted: “The West Bengal Health Department has informed that dead bodies were not of COVID patients, but were unclaimed/unidentified bodies from Hospital Morgue. Legal action is being taken against persons spreading #FakeNews.”
Later, Dhankhar tweeted that “Issue is not whether the dead bodies were Covid ones! That is a matter of probe. Issue – How human bodies can be so shamelessly dragged! Being treated worse than animals…”
But the matter did not end there, and took a political turn. On June 13, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP, senior leader Dinesh Trivedi took to Twitter saying: Governor of Bengal @jdhankhar1 caught red-handed spreading Fake news & misinformation! For a dignified post as yours, you should be ashamed of yourself! #BJPMalignsBengal”
With BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya also tweeting on disposal of bodies stating: “denial of dignity to the dead in Bengal”, Trivedi equated Malviya and Dhankhar’s messages saying “It is disappointing for the constitutional head of a state to parrot the lines peddled by the BJP IT Cell of a party.”
Trivedi also wrote: “@jdhankhar1 the only thing that has been compromised is the integrity of the office of the Governor. You have stayed consistently silent on the achievements of the state while looking for every little opportunity to malign it’s (sic) image,” and also wrote: “If you want to couch your political vendetta by feigning concerns about our state, while systematically denigrating the pride of West Bengal, we along with thousands of other citizens will keep exposing your hypocrisy and selective outrage.”
It did not just end there, Dhankhar has also alleged that some of Trivedi’s tweets were not his, but “handiwork of mercenaries”. To this, Trivedi replied saying “@jdhankhar1 you were a brilliant lawyer. Until you let @AmitShah‘s stooge @AmitMalviya dictate your tweets. There is still time redeem yourself. Your legacy is your burden alone to bear.”
A similar exchange took place between Dhankhar and Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.
Sharing Kolkata Police’s tweet on the fake news over disposal of bodies in the Kolkata crematorium, Mitra tweeted: “GovernorWB back to firing BJP arrows at state govt which is handling covid, amphan & migrant return smoothly all at once. A (rotten) apple never falls far from the tree..” With this, Mitra was also trying to indicate Dhankhar’s close association with the BJP. Mitra also wrote attacking Dhankhar on June 13:
Uncleji- 3 points: 1. BJP elevates leaders based on amount of blood they have on hands. TMC rewards hard work
- Your legal career wasn’t very luminous – at least try & keep dignity of RajBhavan during tenure
- You can always context next Rajasthan polls. Keep fit for that