When two matured persons indulge in child-like spat, there is nothing much to say. All one can do is to pray to the almighty that good sense will prevail soon and concerned persons will be back in their ‘senses’ as soon as possible.
Yes, we are talking about the recent war of words between West Bengal Governor Kailash Nath Tripathi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. It is no gainsaying that both of them had behaved in such a manner which is unbecoming of persons holding such high posts. There is no doubt that both of them are ideologically poles apart. While Mamata Banerjee believes in secularism, Mr. Tripathi, throughout his life has advocated for Hindutva. So, the seed of the conflict was sowed long ago. But one expected them to keep the conflict buried for the time being at least when they are being appointed as the Governor and has been elected as the Chief Minister of a State.
But both failed miserably to live up to their responsibilities. While Mr. Tripathi blamed Mamata administration for the unfortunate riots in Baduria in North 24 Parganas without checking facts properly, Ms. Banerjee, on her part, attacked the Governor without being aware of the consequences and limitations of a Chief Minister in attacking Constitutional heads.
In India, spats between the Governor and the Chief Minister is nothing new. There are plenty of incidents to show that people in power have often showed tendency to cross the ‘Laxman Rekha’. On the other hand, Governors were not always impartial as they should be while dealing with the State administration. Just before the Tripathi-Mamata spat, a clash between Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi and Puduchery Chief Minister V. Narayanswamy was widely reported in the media. The trouble broke when Ms. Bedi nominated three BJP leaders in the Puduchery Assembly. Ruling Congress objected the move blaming that Ms. Bedi was working as a BJP agent. But the Lt. Governor maintained that everything was done in accordance with the Constitution. The entire controversy was unnecessary to say the least. It only belittles the respect that the citizens have for the rulers.
The best example of how a Governor should air his displeasure against the State administration came from former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishana Gandhi. In the wake of police firing in Nandigram, where 14 persons were killed, Mr. Gandhi made his thoughts public about the tragic incident in form of a hard-hitting letter, where words were more powerful than the bullets, Clearly, the open letter did not please the then ruling Left Front Government in the State. Yet, the front could not make it as issue as the Governor was well within the role, defined by Indian Constitution.
But exactly the opposite happened in case of the Baduria unrest. The Governor reacted as soon as a BJP delegation met him and presented their side of the story. As the Governor of the State, without practicing impartiality, Mr. Tripathi called up the Chief Minister and accused the State administration working on behalf of the minority community. On the other hand, as soon as the telephonic conversation with the Governor was over, Mamata in a Press Conference, lambasted the Governor. While the spat may provide much needed fodder to news-hungry media persons in the country, it is not at all a good advertisement about politics and administration of India.