Amid protests by BJP MLAs, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday had to cut short his much-speculated maiden address in the Assembly after the state elections on the opening day of Budget Session, completing it in just four minutes.
The BJP MLAs protested because there was no mention of post-poll violence in Bengal in the Governor’s speech.
Dhankhar came to the Assembly at 1.55 pm and entered the hall after offering floral tribute at the statue of B.R. Ambedkar. But as he started to read the speech prepared by the state government, the BJP MLAs started protesting, initially from their own seats before rushing to the well of the House with posters and placards in their hands.
Dhankhar, who was occasionally interrupted, was eventually forced to stop his speech after just five minutes of starting it.
Dhankhar then left the hall flanked by Speaker Biman Banerjee and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Governor, who recently had a controversial debate with Banerjee over the speech prepared for him for the opening day of the Assembly session, was seen speaking to the Chief Minister for 3-4 minutes.
BJP MLA and Leader of Opposition in the House, Suvendu Adhikari, said that the MLAs from the saffron camp protested during the Governor’s speech because it was written by the state government without any mention of the post-poll violence in Bengal.
Interestingly, on the 13th page of the 14-page speech, there is a mention of some people who are termed as ‘opportunists’, and it has been said that ‘some people of this kind’ are trying to create disturbance.
“They are spreading fake news and fake videos and are trying to divide the society. The government will not accept this and strong action will be initiated against them,” it is said.
“We have won 77 seats. We protested during the speech of the Governor because it has been written by the state government. It doesn’t mention anything about the post-poll violence. We have shown pictures of 41 people who have been killed in the violence while many women have been raped, but there is no mention of that in the speech. We respect the Governor. He also protested against the post-poll violence and we respect his stand. But the speech that he delivered was prepared by the Cabinet of Mamata Banerjee. The Governor had no say in it,” Adhikari said.
The speech had triggered controversy from the beginning. On Monday, Dhankhar had alleged that he wanted deliberations on certain portions of the speech with Banerjee, because the said portions won’t be acceptable by the people.
However, Banerjee had rejected the proposal, saying that the speech cannot be changed because it has been approved by the Cabinet.
Sources close to the Governor indicated that Dhankhar also wanted the incidents of post-poll violence to be included in the speech, but the state government was strongly against it.
This triggered speculation whether Dhankhar would read the speech prepared by the state or deviate from the convention and read his own speech.