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Molestation allegations against Bengal Governor sparks row, he says 'won't get cowed down by engineered narratives'

TMC's Chandrima Bhattacharya, a state minister stated that the governor of West Bengal had disrespected a woman of the state. The Raj Bhavan has reportedly sought legal opinion to act against Bhattacharya for her comment against the governor.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 19:24 IST
Last Updated : 02 May 2024, 19:24 IST

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Kolkata: Bengal governor C V Ananda Bose on Thursday said he will not be cowed down by "engineered narratives" and the "truth shall triumph" after a woman employee of the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata reportedly lodged a complaint of molestation against him.

The allegation against the governor sparked off a furore in West Bengal politics just hours before PM Narendra Modi arrived in Kolkata and reached the Raj Bhavan to spend the night. The PM will address three election rallies in West Bengal on Friday to seek votes for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

With 36 of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal set to go to polls in five phases between May 7 and June 1, the Trinamool Congress, which has been in power in the state, immediately moved to reap the political advantage of the allegation by the woman. The party stated that the sanctity of the Raj Bhavan had been 'tarnished'.

The governor, however, dismissed the allegation and issued a statement saying that the 'truth would triumph'. “If anybody wants some election benefits by maligning me, God bless them," the Raj Bhavan quoted the governor in a press release issued a couple of hours after news broke.

Bose has often made critical comments about Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal. TMC has accused him of acting at the behest of the BJP.

The woman, according to the sources, told the police that she had been working at the Raj Bhavan since June 2019 without any hassle. But she had been given a special duty at the Raj Bhavan recently. The governor called her to his office on April 24 and allegedly behaved inappropriately. She was called to the office of the governor again on Thursday. She got her supervisor to accompany her this time. The governor, however, asked the supervisor to leave and according to her allegation, again inappropriately behaved with her. An offer was made to make her temporary job at the Raj Bhavan a permanent one. She, however, felt discomfiture and thereby went to the police outpost at the Raj Bhavan, and told the cops about her ordeal. She was then taken to the Hare Street police station to register her complaint.

“We have registered her complaint and started an inquiry,” Deputy Commissioner (Central) of Kolkata Police, Indira Mukherjee, told journalists later.

“I refuse to be cowed down by engineered narratives. If anybody wants some election benefits by maligning me, God bless them. But they cannot stop my fight against corruption and violence in Bengal,” Ananda Bose was quoted saying in a press release issued by Raj Bhavan.

The governor later barred the entry of police into the Raj Bhavan.

Mukherjee told journalists that Kolkata Police would seek legal opinions about the complaint registered by the woman. A source said that the state government might move the Supreme Court and apprise the Rashtrapati Bhavan about the matter.

Though Article 361 of the Constitution does not allow the institution of a criminal proceeding against the governor of any state in a court during his term of office, the allegation by the woman against Ananda Bose triggered a political storm in West Bengal.

“Appalling and unthinkable! The sanctity of Raj Bhavan, a symbol of our constitutionality, has been tarnished. Hours before PM Narendra Modi was supposed to arrive at Raj Bhavan to spend the night, a woman was allegedly molested by the Governor under the false pretext of job. Such despicable behaviour must be condemned in the strongest terms. Justice must be delivered swiftly for the victim – no excuses, no delays!” the Trinamool Congress stated on X.

“Molestation charges against Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose puts the prestige of the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata at stake. PM @narendramodi is scheduled to arrive in Kolkata today and stay overnight at the Raj Bhavan. Will Modi ask CV Ananda Bose for an explanation?” Sagarika Ghose, a TMC member in Rajya Sabha, posted on X.

Chandrima Bhattacharya, a minister in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government, also made a statement alleging that the governor of West Bengal had disrespected a woman of the state. The Raj Bhavan, according to the sources, sought legal opinion to act against Bhattacharya for her comment against the governor.

Suvendu Adhikari, senior BJP leader in the state, said that the allegation by the woman against the governor might have been orchestrated by the TMC, which had been facing a tough challenge in the Lok Sabha elections. He, however, added that the Union Government would surely act if the allegations were found to be based on facts.

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Published 02 May 2024, 19:24 IST

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