Kolkata, June 7: Hours after ruling Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra levelled charges of 'extensive nepotism' inside the Kolkata Raj Bhavan orchestrated by Jagdeep Dhankar and dared him to sue her for the disclosures, the West Bengal Governor denied the charges as "factually incorrect".
Responding to BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu's allegations that the Trinamool Congress MP had furnished a 'pack of lies' while dishing out a list of six Officers on Special Duty (OSD) appointed by the Governor, Moitra said: "Why is BJP rising to his defence? Is he a BJP functionary or a Governor? Can't he defend himself?" TMC MP Mahua Moitra Calls West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar 'Uncle-Ji', Says His Kin Appointed as Officer on Special Duty
The 46-year-old Krishnanagar MP shared a document on Sunday and claimed that Abbhudoy Singh Sekhawat, Governor's OSD, is his brother-in-law's son. Akhil Chowdhury, who is the OSD coordination, has some close family relationship with the Governor. OSD administration Ruchi Dubey is the wife of Major Gorang Diksit, ex-ADC (aides-de-camp) to the Governor, while the Major's brother Prasant Diksit is the OSD (protocol). OSD IT Koustav S Valikar is the brother-in-law of Dhankhar's present ADC Srikant Janardan Rao, IPS. And Kishan Dhankhar, a newly appointed OSD of the Governor, is also his close relative, the document said.
Moitra challenged Jagdeep Dhankar to take her to court over her remarks and tweets on the issue. "I dare him to sue me for defamation," Moitra said.
She told journalists that if the BJP had won, the state would be full of such appointments from other parts of the country.
"We in Bengal are not parochial, but someone who gets a job here should be worth it. He or she should not get it just because they have a saffron uncle here to do their bidding," Moitra said.
She said Bengal taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for the OSDs appointed by Governor Dhankar at Kolkata Rajbhavan.
"Having failed to deliver Bengal to the BJP, Uncleji (Dhankar) must seek out a job in Delhi. He is running around raising hell over the state's law and order, so BJP should rehabilitate him somewhere, she said, quipping: "Dont forget to take your extended family with you."
Moitra also lampooned BJP leaders "who have the temerity to castigate Bengal voters for rejecting the saffron brigade".
"You guys have the audacity to question a popular verdict, you think Bengalis don't know what is good for them," said Moitra, who has emerged as one of India's most noticed parliamentarians.
"We did not question Indian voters when they elected BJP to power. It is for us to judge whether the BJP government has totally failed or not. We rest our case with voters and hope they see the obvious and vote in future elections," she said.
Moitra said she was shocked by a statement of a RSS functionary likening Hindus to frogs.
"Are they out of their minds," she asked.
Rajesh Srivastava, the RSS intellectual cell president of the West Bengal unit, has compared Hindu community with frogs and said it can be extremely difficult to evaluate them on one scale (weighing machine).
This remark was made by him during a virtual discussion organised by the election cell of the Bihar unit of BJP under the chairmanship of Radhika Raman on Sunday. The theme of the discussion was violence and democratic threat that arose after the West Bengal election.
"The Hindu community behaves like a frog and its evaluation on one weighing machine is extremely difficult," Srivastava said while quoting this statement made by former RSS chief late Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.
"Mamata Banerjee and some extremists have united the Muslim community and is doing conspiracy to separate chicken from the neck. We have to foil their conspiracy," Srivastava said.
Moitra said Bengalis see themselves as Bengalis and Indians and not as Hindus or Muslims.
"The BJP failed to see this and kept flaunting their religious binary which backfired on them," she said.
"You guys have your chintan sabhas, dont you evaluate your mistakes honestly," she asked, quipping: "Do you forget what Gokhale said."
Gopal Krishna Gokhale is famous for "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tommorow' comment.
Moitra said the BJP defeat in Bengal, after the huge effort they put in, might turn out to be a 'watershed.'
Dhankar rubbished charges levelled against him by Moitra that he had appointed 'close relatives' as officers on special duty (OSD) in Kolkata Raj Bhavan .
"Assertion @MahuaMoitra in tweet & Media that six coterminous appointee OSDs in personal staff are relatives is FACTUALLY WRONG. OSDs are from three states and belong to four different castes. None of them is part of close family. Four of them are not from my caste or state," Jagdeep Dhankhar tweeted.
Dhankhar claimed that Moitra's allegation was a part of TMC's "distraction strategy" to divert attention from the "law and order scenario" in West Bengal. He said, "This is unfolding of 'distraction strategy' to divert attention from alarming law and order scenario."
"Would continue undeterred and with zeal to serve the people of state and vindicate my oath of office under Article 159 of the Constitution," Jagdeep Dhankhar added.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 07, 2021 04:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).