Mamata's appeasement policy affecting harmony: Tripathi

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

Outgoing West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Saturday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's "appeasement policy" is adversely affecting the social harmony of the state.

Tripathi, who has had several run-ins with the chief minister during his five-year tenure, said that Banerjee has the vision and power to implement her decisions but needs to keep a check on her sentiments and exercise restraint.

He said the chief minister should treat every citizen equally without discrimination.

"Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has got vision, she has the power to implement her decisions but she should exercise restraint too. She becomes sentimental on occasions, so she has to keep a control on it," Tripathi told PTI while replying to questions on a wide range of issues.

His successor Jagdeep Dhankar will take oath as governor on July 30.

"Her (Banerjee's ) policy of appeasement has the effect of adversely affecting societal harmony... I think she should look at every citizen equally. I believe that every citizen of West Bengal should be dealt with equally without discrimination," he said.

Asked whether he saw any discrimination in West Bengal, 85-year-old Tripathi said, "Discrimination is apparent. Her (Banerjee) statements show the discrimination".

He also expressed concern on violence in the state, saying the law and order situation should be improved.

"I think a lot of improvement is required in the law and order situation. I do not know why people are adopting violence. There may be a political reason, a communal reason or influx of Bangladeshis and Rohingyas or several other causes," he said.

The state witnessed several incidents of political violence during and after the Lok Sabha polls.

On whether he felt the current law and order situation in West Bengal could warrant the imposition of President's Rule, Tripathi refrained from giving a direct reply.

"President's Rule can be imposed under certain circumstances which have been mentioned in some judgments of the Supreme Court.

"Law and order is a state subject. So, mere deterioration of the law and order situation may by itself not be sufficient for imposition of President's Rule," he said.

If there are instances where the government is not working in accordance with the Constitution, then the President's rule can be imposed, he added.

Tripathi and Banerjee, who is the Trinamool Congress chief, have publicly criticised each other a number of times during the last five years. The chief minister has often accused the governor of targeting her government and interfering in its work at the behest of BJP-led central government.

Asked if he felt that the general elections in West Bengal were held in a free and fair manner, Tripathi praised the role of senior police officers but alleged that those at lower level were aligning themselves with political parties which has led to voters losing confidence in the election process.

"I had received complaints that the elections in West Bengal were not fair, to a good extent.

"The thing which I did not like was the interference of police at the lowest level. Higher police officers are good. They are sincere, but constables and sub-inspectors align themselves to one party or the other with the result that they have not been able to maintain the confidence of the people in the electoral process," he said.

Referring to the recent agitations in the state, Tripathi said "Agitations start only when somebody fails. That is a general principle and is applicable to various situations".

The state has witnessed protests by successful candidates of West Bengal School Service Commission examination who are yet to get their placements, primary school teachers, junior doctors and employees of the power department. 

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