Kolkata: West Bengal now has a full-time governor, the former bureaucrat C V Ananda Bose, following the elevation of former Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to vice president of India. Bose is from Kerala's Kottayam. He enjoyed a distinguished career as an IAS officer. He is also a skilled orator and the author of over 45 books and numerous scholarly works. Ananda Bose is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's closest advisors.
However, the governor's appointment has become more political than in the past. The political significance of Bose's appointment as governor of Bengal is significant. Firstly, it is essential to understand that this appointment took place at a time when several graft allegations against Bengal, the chief minister-led government, Trinamool Congress leaders, and their associates have surfaced. In recent years, the Calcutta High Court has ordered a record number of CBI investigations into allegations of corruption and acts of violence.
Another significant aspect of this appointment is that when Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar was the full-time governor of Bengal before the appointment of Bose, he had a very poor relationship with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The confrontations between Dhankhar and Banerjee were frequent. Similar to Dhankhar, the Bharatiya Janata Party of Bengal received massive support. When La Ganeshan was appointed interim governor, things began to change. While Ganeshan developed a positive relationship with Banerjee, the Bengal BJP claimed he ignored the opposition. In the midst of all these developments, Bose was appointed.
Effects on Mamata Banerjee's governance
Correction of the relationship between the governor, the legislative assembly, and the state government would be the first crucial aspect. During Jagdeep Dhankhar's administration, there were numerous conflicts between these three offices. According to the Trinamool Congress, the legislative assembly passed a number of significant bills, but Dhankhar did not give his approval.
According to government sources in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee will initially attempt to implement these bills. Similarly, the state government will want less interference from the Raj Bhavan in its daily operations. The Bengal BJP leaders have different expectations of Bose, however. They believe that his illustrious history as an IAS officer will aid in uncovering systemic corruption.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior Bengal BJP leader stated, "The school service commission and other teacher recruitment scams have revealed that Mamata Banerjee has used officials to commit corruption. When Jagdeep Dhankhar was the governor, he repeatedly emphasised that the officials under Didimoni (Mamata Banerjee) did not listen to him. We anticipate that Bose will quickly identify flaws and infractions. Under Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, the government of West Bengal has become a limited liability corporation. Only a sophisticated and erudite IAS officer such as Bose can show the TMC the mirror."
Center, state and fiscal issues
The government of West Bengal, led by Mamata Banerjee, faces enormous financial obligations. In Bengal, for instance, government officers and employees have protested and demanded their Dearness Allowance for quite some time. In this regard, despite the orders of the Calcutta High Court, the government has been unable to pay due to a severe lack of funds.
The TMC leaders, including the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, have repeatedly asserted that the central government is not contributing its share of funds to numerous projects, such as the hundred-day work. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed that the TMC government is not auditing the state's previously allocated funds. In this situation, the PMC believes the newly appointed governor will play a crucial role in defending Bengal.
A senior TMC official stated, "The central government, currently controlled by the Republican Party, has halted funding for several projects. It is our portion of the funds, and we must obtain it. The Bharatiya Janata Party engages in dirty politics regarding the development of Bengal because it does not care about the state's residents. We are confident that the new governor will advocate for the citizens of the state, as the governor ultimately represents the state. We desire a swift resolution to this issue. The ongoing conflict over the outstanding funds will be resolved if the Governor informs the central government and explains our position."
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party is adamant that the central government should not pay any money to the Bengal government unless Mamata Banerjee provides a detailed audit of what she did with the funds provided previously.
State of law and order
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress both believe that the governor will play an active role in law and order issues. The TMC leaders have alleged that the BJP has been attempting to undermine public confidence in the state police.
A senior TMC leader stated, "The BJP seeks the central government's intervention on every issue pertaining to law and order. Recently, TMC supporters demonstrated in front of the residence of opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, prompting him to petition the court for a CBI investigation. We believe that the state government and the governor must work together to allow the state police to operate freely."
The Bharatiya Janata Party has stated that the law and order situation in Bengal has deteriorated under the administration of Mamata Banerjee. In this situation, they want the governor to intervene actively in matters of law and order. During the meeting between the opposition leader and Bose, according to a senior BJP leader, Adhikari presented the law and order situation in Bengal.
"We anticipate that the new Governor of Bengal will take note of the deteriorating state of law and order in Bengal. In addition to lawlessness, there are also communal issues. The government of Mamata Banerjee is silent on all matters of law and order and uses the police for political gain. The high court of Calcutta has repeatedly observed the same thing. Because the governor is the representative of the federal government, we anticipate that he will periodically request federal intervention in state law and order matters," said a BJP leader who did not wish to be named.
State of politics
Politics, not administration, is expected to be the top priority for Bengal's new governor, according to the state's political watchers. During Jagdeep Dhankhar's time as Governor, the TMC frequently complained that the position had been usurped by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Dhankhar used to regularly criticise Mamata Banerjee and the TMC in public forums like press conferences and social media.
When La Ganesan took over as interim governor, everything shifted. Through his efforts, Ganesan became well-liked by the TMC government; he celebrated Kali puja at the home of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and even invited the CM to his birthday celebration.
The BJP has complained that he has ignored the opposition leader and ignored the comments made by TMC minister Akhil Giri against the President of India, among other things.
The TMC sources insisted that the Governor's office shouldn't be treated like the Bharatiya Janata Party's state headquarters.
"When it comes to the country's constitution, the BJP clearly does not have any regard. In several states governed by the opposition, they have appointed governors who do nothing but play politics while in office. Because the governor's position is purely ceremonial, we feel that the BJP should not make the Raj Bhavan their headquarters this time around," said a TMC leader.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders have claimed that the governor must favour the opposition. Because the opposition does not even have a voice in the assembly under Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP sources, however, confirmed that there has been no coordination with the governor from the central leadership.
Questions on appointment
Internally, the TMC leadership has already begun to raise questions about Bose's appointment. First, they noted that Bose was appointed within twenty-four hours of Ganesan denying Adhikari an appointment to discuss Akhil Giri's remarks.
The TMC leaders have also learned that after the Bengal elections, when the BJP began to allege post-election violence, the Central Home Ministry dispatched a team to monitor the situation and submit a report. Bose was a member of this group.
A senior TMC legislator who declined to be identified stated, "We have zero confidence on the BJP and the decisions by the central government under them. However, we honor the constitutional post. No matter what his resume says, Ananda Bose is a BJP member."