Bengal governor condoles NRC deaths, says constitutional values under threat

There had been apprehension Dhankhar's speech could trigger another row with TMC govt

dhankhar file (File) West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at a press conference | Salil Bera

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, in his speech at the beginning of the budget session in the Assembly, on Friday expressed condolences over deaths of people in the state due to panic caused by the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens. Interestingly, Dhankhar also echoed sentiments of the TMC government when he said, "At present our country is at a critical juncture, the basic values and principles of the Constitution are under threat".

During the address by Dhankhar, the TMC legislators were seen donned in T-shirts and having badges and aprons signalling opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and NRC.

Dhankhar was seen greeting legislators of the ruling TMC, with which he has had several run-ins in the recent past, as he entered the Assembly House to deliver his address.

The governor expressed condolence over the deaths of "innocent people due to panic over proposed NRC".

There had been apprehension Dhankhar's speech could trigger another row between him and the Mamata Banerjee government. On Thursday, Dhankhar hinted that he will make some changes in his speech, the text of which is prepared by the cabinet. The cabinet had refused to accept the changes.

Live TV telecast of the speech had been suspended.

Dhankhar had been critical of the Mamata Banerjee government's opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC.

In December, he demanded that the state government must withdraw advertisements that claimed the NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act would not be implemented in the state, saying such promotion was unconstitutional.