TMC Plans Moving Motion Against Guv Dhankhar, to Protest Change in IAS Rules in Budget Session

Taking the West Bengal government versus governor spat to the next level, the Trinamool Congress is now planning to move a “substantive motion” against governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in parliament. The motion, which could either be tabled in Rajya Sabha or in both Houses, would be moved in the upcoming Budget Session, senior TMC leaders said.

The TMC has also decided to raise its voice on the parliament floor against the Centre’s contentious proposal to amend the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and explore possibilities of floor coordination with like-minded opposition parties over the issue.

The move was decided at the party’s virtual meeting of parliamentarians on Thursday, which was presided over by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee from her Kalighat residence in Kolkata. An overly irked TMC leadership, at the forefront of which is Banerjee herself, decided on the move against Dhankhar in the wake of him lashing out at the state government yet again at the premises of the legislative assembly earlier this week. He accused the ruling party of “trampling” democracy and keeping the governor’s office “in the dark” about policies and public expenditure.

“We have unanimously agreed that the role of the governor in Bengal has reached unprecedented lows. He is even questioning the chief minister’s decision to appoint a chairperson for the human rights commission. Unlike the president, the governor is a nominated individual and the way he is attacking and questioning every move made by an elected government with two-third majority in the assembly, it seems like he has been given a mandate to keep disturbing this government,” said TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, shortly after emerging from the meeting.

“The nature of a substantive motion is like a resolution. Our parliamentary party is yet to decide if we will move this only in Rajya Sabha or in both Houses of Parliament. But the motion can call for removal of the governor and there can be a division on it. Depending on which way the MPs vote and if the motion is passed by Parliament, then the process of removal will have to begin,” said Rajya Sabha TMC leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.

“The chief minister has already written two letters to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi on our reservations against the IAS rule amendment. But, so far, there is no response. Chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand have also voiced similar concerns. This is, hence, very much a national issue now and we have to take it up in Parliament,” Roy added.

Another highly placed source in the TMC said the Banerjee directed MPs to keep a close watch on the Centre’s Budget ahead of the elections in five states and devise parliamentary strategies to oppose possible freebies and sops.

“We cannot concretely formulate our strategy unless the government shows its cards, which it is tightly holding onto. But whatever we decide, it will first have to be approved by our party high command,” the source said.

Meanwhile, BJP’s opposition leader in the assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, lashed out at Banerjee alleging that she was using the police force in an “autocratic” manner. The Centre’s move to amend the IAS/IPS rules will soon put an end to such “high-handedness and misuse”, he said.

Adhikari was allegedly stopped by police in Salt Lake on Thursday, while he was on his way to meet the state education secretary at Bikash Bhavan with a demand to reopen educational institutions.

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