JAIPUR: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Friday said he shares a deep relationship with her like a brother.
At the same time, he is not a "proactive governor" but a "copybook governor", who believes in the rule of law, Dhankhar said here, adding he will never violate the dignity of the Constitution at the behest of anyone.
He referred to various occasions when he had a showdown with the West Bengal CM while stressing that he won't do anything beyond the constitutional limits.
Dhankhar was speaking as the chief guest in a seminar on the "Role of Governors and MLAs in Furtherance of Democracy", organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association's Rajasthan chapter in the state Assembly building.
"People may not have knowledge but my personal relationship with the chief minister is very deep, of brother and sister. Our dialogue is continuing," he said.
He made the remark while talking about a recent controversy over summoning the West Bengal state Assembly at 2 am on March 7, the timing of which was changed to 2 pm after a fresh cabinet proposal.
An imbroglio over the timing started after Dhankhar had on February 24 summoned the Assembly at 2 am on the basis of a proposal by the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, which was later clarified as a typographical error.
"Sometimes conflict happens because of ignorance, like someone is there in the dark to trouble us," he said. In lighter vein, Dhankhar quipped it was said that the government does not want to use the word "PM", therefore "AM" was written.
"I mean to say that I have to act as a friend, guide and philosopher of the government. My biggest witness is Mamataji. The CM's status in democracy is very huge, behind the CM is the sanction of people. This mandate is huge," the Governor said.
"I tell her, I appreciate you represent the mandate of nine crore people. In the politics of India, the prime minister and the chief minister are supreme but I said, give at least some space to me," Dhankhar said.
Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with CM Banerjee since his appointment in July 2019.
He said MLAs are also seen by a certain prism and his position is no different.
Dhankhar said he told the chief minister that she is a well-known leader of the country.
"I took his (Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot) name and said there are not more than three-four people in this category. Whatever the Centre suggests to me, I will take it very seriously and my mind will be that work should be done accordingly if there is no constitutional impediment," he said.
"In the same way, I said whatever your (Banerjee's) suggestion will be, its effect will also be as much on me. But the day people of the Centre or you are convinced that I will do what you say, then another person will sit on this chair, I will not sit," he said.
Dhankhar said he takes command only from the Constitution and not from anyone else.
"My job is to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution," he said.
Dhankhar said he was called by the media a "proactive governor".
"I am a copybook governor. I believe in the rule of law. I will not violate constitutional dignity under any circumstances at the behest of anyone," he said.
Dhankhar said he feels pain when there is no dialogue between ruling dispensation and the opposition.
In this context, he praised Rajasthan, saying the state has a great tradition of cordial relationship between the ruling and opposition parties.
"It has been my relentless effort that as a governor, my main responsibility is to support the government but it is not possible with one hand," he said.
Dhankhar said a governor should not be given any work other than his constitutional obligations, which would create a situation of conflict with the state government.
The appointment of vice-chancellors is one such thing that creates conflicts, he stressed.
"When a matter of appointment comes to me, I work with my own wisdom. But when the CM's suggestion comes, I don't apply my mind. I agree to the name. Despite this, this governor had to suffer. Twenty-five vice-chancellors have been appointed without my knowledge and sanction," he said.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said there has always been a cordial relationship between the governor and state government because of the traditions set by old leaders.
He said in Rajasthan, Assembly sessions run longer and both ruling and opposition parties share a good relationship.
Gehlot said all members of the House will meet at dinner at his residence on March 28.
Speaker C P Joshi, Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria also addressed the seminar, which was attended by sitting and former MLAs.
In the programme, four MLAs were honoured.
BJP MLA Gyanchand Parakh was honoured for being the best MLA for 2019, independent MLA Sanyam Lodha for 2020, BJP MLA Babulal and Congress MLA Manju Devi for 2021.