Doggedly set on collision course, a defiant West Bengal government has decided not to comply with the summons served by the Home Ministry on the state's chief secretary and the DGP, following the attack on BJP president JP Nadda's convoy in Diamond Harbour on Thursday.
In a letter to the Centre, Chief Secretary Alpan Bandhopadhyay explained that the state government had made elaborate security arrangements for Nadda's visit; also, three case had been registered following the attack and seven persons had been arrested.
Given the alacrity shown by the state government in the case and the seriousness with which it was handling the matter, the Home Ministry has been requested to dispense away with the presence of the state officials. (The summons were for December 14.)
The chief secretary has explained in detail that adequate security arrangements were made for Nadda, a Z category protectee, and said he was given a bullet-proof car, an escort vehicle, and security officers. A DIG was also stationed to oversee the security. This was in addition to the arrangements made by the Centre; possibly, the tagging of several vehicles to Nadda’s convoy made the “situation unwieldy”.
That the Centre does not see the Diamond Harbour attack as an unruly situation that veered out of control was apparent when West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar told a news portal that he had inputs early Thursday morning about plans to disrupt Nadda’s visit.
"I alerted the DGP of the state at 8 am. I got in touch with the Chief Secretary also and shared the material with him; I even got a message from Chief Secretary at 8.19 am saying respected sir, I have alerted and sensitised the DGP," Dhankar told India Today in an exclusive chat.
He further condemned the assault as a "very alarming" incident that poses a "serious threat to democratic fabric". Governor Dhankar also said that he told the Chief Secretary and the DGP later that he is "ashamed at their acts of omission and commission". "They were in silence zone after 9 am, the incident happened hours thereafter," Dhankar said.
In an ominous warning, the Governor also said: Whatever they say is not going to deter me from my constitutional duty. ‘‘I can't fiddle in Raj Bhawan when democracy is in flames." Earlier in the day, he told a press conference: “I have sent a report to the Central government, I do not wish to share the contents as part of propriety.”
The previous day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the fight into the BJP camp by mocking the BJP president, saying at a rally: “They (the BJP) has no other work. At times Home Minister is here, at other times, Chaddha, Nadda, Fadda, Bhaddha is here. When they've no audience, they call their workers and stage a nautanki.”