Mamata Banerjee extends an olive branch, meets Governor Dhankhar

According to governor's office, they discussed “various issues of governance”

mamata-dhankhar West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee; Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee finally held an hour-long meeting with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar after delay of nearly five months.

The Raj Bhavan had indicated on Sunday that the chief minister might meet the governor on Monday. Dhankhar hadn't accepted any appointment for the day as he was expecting the chief minister.

The governor said he had been seeking time from chief minister for an interaction ever since he assumed charge, but to no avail. Banerjee's closed-door meeting with Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan came at a time when governor refused to sign two legislative bills, seeking further clarification, and had issued show cause notice to the vice chancellor of Cooch Behar Panchanan Barma University for conducting the convocation ceremony in the absence of the governor—who is also chancellor of the university—and without taking his assent.

In his letter, governor said, "Whereas by such act you have abused and misused the powers vested in you by proceeding with the holding of convocation without following the provisions of clause 2 of statute number 153 and such act appears to me that you have willfully omitted to carry out the provisions of the University Act."

He further added, "You have shown incompetence to perform duties imposed on you by and under the (aforesaid) University Act."

He also suggested to start the process of vice chancellor's removal saying, "It is expedient in the interest of the university to set in motion the process of consideration of your removal from the office of the vice chancellor in accordance of the provision of subsection 7 and section 9 of the University Act."

Reacting to the issue, the West Bengal Chancellor Council said in a statement, "Concerned VC had intimated governor on the proposed convocation, but found no response. He acted according to rules."

VC Debkumar Mukherjee refused to comment, but sources said the issue drew the attention of Education Minister Partha Chatterjee. Before the motion could set in, Chatterjee consulted Banerjee and the chief minister decided to meet Dhankhar, as she was left with no other option.

Raj Bhavan called the meeting between Dhankhar and Banerjee "extremely satisfying but was done one-to-one" as, sources said, desired by the chief minister.

Such a meeting between the chief minister and the governor usually takes place in the presence of the secretary of the governor and additional chief secretary of West Bengal, Satish Tiwari. But in this case, Tiwari was not asked to come during the meeting.

Dhankhar's office said the meeting lasted for one hour and that "it was regarding the various issues of governance".

Both the offices refused to divulge more information regarding the meeting, and the chief minister departed without making a statement.