HALDIA: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday criticised the ruling TMC for allegedly indulging in politics over accordance of security cover.
The state recently withdrew the security provided to three close aides of disgruntled TMC minister Suvendu Adhikari, shortly after he spoke against the party at a rally.
Dhankhar also claimed that local officials at the behest of the party apparently delayed BJP MP Jagannath Sarkar's visit to a slain soldier's home in Nadia district.
Sarkar had alleged that he was prevented from entering the house for nearly 30 minutes by the police.
A section of officials are still acting as political workers, despite repeated warnings, the governor stated.
"Working under influence of political considerations on issues such as providing security cover is a blow to any democratic set-up," Dhankhar told newspersons during his brief visit to Murshidabad.
He sought to know whether the situation in the state has come to such a pass that a person's political behaviour was now being made a determining factor for accordance of security cover.
Referring to a controversy over Sarkar being "made to wait by some officials" when he went to pay homage to the martyred soldier, the governor said one would be astonished to learn of such behaviour.
"While the ruling party MP was given the red carpet, the way the opposition MP was treated is unimaginable," Dhankhar said.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra had also visited Army gunner Subodh Ghosh's residence to pay homage to the soldier, killed in ceasefire violation in north Kashmir.
"There has been improvement in the conduct of many officials after my repeated warnings, but some are yet to mend their ways. They are nonchalant, but the long arm of the law will catch up with them," Dhankhar added.
Meanwhile, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee iterated that the governor was working as "an agent of the BJP".
Banerjee also said that Dhankhar should "read the Constitution on the role of governor".
Adhikari, who is maintaining a distance from the ruling TMC and the state cabinet, Wednesday said he has come up through hard work and is an elected leader, not a selected or nominated one - a comment which did not go down well with the party's top brass.
Adhikari, one of the most influential mass leaders of TMC in Midnapore and tribal Jangalmahal region in the state said at a programme by a cooperative here that he has been elected as its chairman and is neither nominated nor a selected leader, unlike many others.
Many in the TMC believe that his comment was aimed at a senior TMC leader and MP.
"I have come up through hard work. I am an elected leader. I am neither nominated nor a selected or a nominated leader," he said.
All eyes are now on the rally that he is scheduled to address in the district on Thursday.
TMC leader of East Midnapore district, Akhil Giri asked Adhikari to divulge whom he was referring to in his speech.
"Instead of making comments which weakens the party (TMC), he (Adhikari) should come out clean about whom he was referring to," Giri said.
According to TMC sources, Adhikari, who holds the portfolio of the state transport department, has been maintaining a distance with the party's leaders and has given several important party meetings a miss.
He has also stayed away from cabinet meetings.
The TMC has opened back channel talks with Adhikari and is trying to address his grievances in order to retain him in the party, sources in the party said.
Apart from East Midnapore district from where he hails, Adhikari influences about 35 assembly constituencies in West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram districts which fall in the Jangalmahal area and in parts of Birbhum district.
This assumes significance as the state polls are due in April-May 2021 when Banerjee will seek to return to power for the third consecutive term.
He is a member of the powerful Adhikari family of East Midnapore district.
His father Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari are TMC MPs from Tamluk and the Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.
Adhikari had played a vital role in TMC''s Nandigram movement in 2007 which had helped the party come to power by defeating the Left Front in 2011.