Ahead of the West Bengal assembly's budget session which starts on Friday, the state government on Thursday refused to make any changes in the speech of Governor Jagdeep Dhankar as requested by him.
“The stand of the state government on the issue has been communicated to Raj Bhavan on the evening of February 6, 2020, and the government has taken the stand that the text of the address as already sent, is the final text,” governor’s press secretary Manab Bandyopadhyay said in a media statement issued on Thursday.
Dhankar had urged the government to make changes in his speech which the Mamata Banerjee led TMC government has denied. “The state has full right to put in the address all that they want. They can put their policies, impressions, ideas and indicate their achievements. The address duly approved by the Cabinet has been sent to me. I too, as the governor, the constitutional head of the state, have the right to make my own suggestions,” Dhankar said while addressing media.
"A draft of the address has been made available to me after approval of the state cabinet. That is under my consideration. If I will have an issue or would like to make an addition, I will do it in a formal manner,” he had said on Wednesday.
“History will be made when a Governor who was born after Independence will deliver the Budget speech. Till now my distinguished predecessors have delivered this speech. They were all born before Independence. I am the first one born after Independence to address the Assembly for such a speech under the Constitution,” said Dhankhar.
The issue erupted when Dhankar reportedly sought clarifications regarding the budget from the finance minister Amit Mitra and parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee before signing the Finance Bill. A state minister reportedly said that the clarifications sought by the governor would have required revealing the contents of the budget in advance.
Senior TMC leaders have opined that a governor cannot ask the government to reveal the contents of the budget in advance and he is supposed to read out the speech as prepared by the cabinet.
A similar situation of standoff had arisen between Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan which was resolved after the governor read out a paragraph containing criticism of the amended citizenship act in a policy speech he delivered on January 28 in the state assembly, though the governor said that he did not agree to the statement but was reading it out to honour the Chief Minister's wish.