Tussle in Bengal as Raj Bhavan observes state foundation day

Banerjee requested the Governor to refrain from holding any program that would revive bitter memories and incite undesirable forces, as agreed upon during their telephonic discussion.

KOLKATA | Updated: 20 June, 2023 12:05 pm IST
She emphasized that West Bengal has never commemorated or celebrated any specific day as its foundation day, considering the partition as a result of communal forces that could not be resisted at that time.

KOLKATA: The ongoing friction between West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor CV Ananda Bose intensified as Banerjee wrote a letter urging the Governor not to celebrate West Bengal’s state foundation day Tuesday, June 20.

In her letter, Banerjee stated that the state was not founded on a specific day, particularly not on June 20. Instead, it was formed through the infamous Radcliffe Award, which was legitimized by the departing colonial government.

She emphasized that West Bengal has never commemorated or celebrated any specific day as its foundation day, considering the partition as a result of communal forces that could not be resisted at that time.

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Banerjee requested the Governor to refrain from holding any program that would revive bitter memories and incite undesirable forces, as agreed upon during their telephonic discussion.

Amidst this disagreement, an official invitation has been issued from Raj Bhawan to commemorate West Bengal’s State Foundation Day.

The escalating tussle between Raj Bhawan and Nabanna, especially with the approaching panchayat elections, has witnessed further complications. Following violence during the nomination submission period, the Governor canceled his visit to the violence-stricken areas of Bhangar and Canning. Raj Bhawan has also established a peace room to address public grievances.

Dola Sen, Rajya Sabha MP of the Trinamool Congress, said, “The Governor holds a constitutional post, and I won’t say anything about that, but it seems to be done following the instruction of the Home Ministry. This is nothing but divisive politics being played here.”

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Sen further added, “We have never celebrated West Bengal’s foundation day. Is it something to celebrate? How would they understand the pain? How will they ever know how this division tore people apart? Punjab and Bengal fought a different battle, and as a result, both states paid a heavy price. ‘Tanasahi’ never has the final word; as per the constitution, we, the people of India, will have the final say.”

During the British Parliament’s declaration of the India Independence Act on July 15, 1947, there was no clarity on the borders of Bengal and Punjab. On June 20, the Bengal Legislative Assembly convened a meeting to decide whether the Bengal Presidency would unite with Pakistan or India. After extensive debates and deliberations, the House concluded by deciding to bifurcate Bengal and lay the foundation of West Bengal.

In his message on this occasion, Governor Bose said, “Bengal flourished with the contributions of Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Vivekananda, and Shyamaprasad Mukherjee following Rabindra Nath Tagore. Congratulations to the people of Bengal on this auspicious occasion of West Bengal Day, as acknowledged by the President’s message.”

He also said that there should be no tolerance for violence in the state.

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