Written byShalini Ojha
At a time when political adversaries have kept aside their differences to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a battle is taking shape in West Bengal, one involving Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the Trinamool government.
On Wednesday, Dhankhar batted for central forces to be called in the state to enforce lockdown, an idea which was quickly dismissed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's party.
Here's what happened.
Taking to Twitter, Dhankhar said lockdown must be strictly followed to fight coronavirus.
"Police and administration @MamataOfficial failing to effect 100% #SocialDistancing or curbing religious congregations be shown door. Lockdown must succeed-examine central para forces requisitioning!, (sic)" his tweet read.
Earlier, Union Home Ministry had shot off two letters to the state administration claiming that restrictions aren't being adhered to religiously.
Lockdown protocol has to be thoroughly implemented to ward off #coronavirus.— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) April 15, 2020
Police and administration @MamataOfficial failing to effect 100% #SocialDistancing or curbing religious congregations be shown door.
Lockdown must succeed-examine central para forces requisitioning!
The areas where the lockdown is not being enforced properly are largely minority-dominated.
But Trinamool spokesperson Snehasish Chakraborty brushed aside Dhankhar's criticism and said the latter only wants to disrupt governance.
"The Mamata Banerjee administration is completely preoccupied with responding to the unprecedented situation over the novel coronavirus," he said, adding they don't want to respond to someone behaving like "BJP worker".
Dhankhar's tweet comes at a time when Bengal Police is reportedly taking extra steps to ensure the lockdown is enforced. It's using drones to keep an eye on violators and urging people to stay indoors using loudspeakers.
Some 1,174 markets were relocated to spacious areas and 963 markets were expanded to ensure social distancing.
The administration is looking for alternate places for 256 markets.
To note, Dhankhar has regularly slammed the Bengal government over its handling of the matter.
On April 13, he put out a tweet asking Banerjee to end the "lockdown" with his office.
"We are in combat mode #CoronaPandemic and must act in togetherness in State interest. MHA warnings must lead to correctional approach. Officials be held accountable for lapses #SocialDistancing and religious congregations (sic)."
On Saturday, a BJP delegation met Dhankhar claiming that the state government wasn't giving the right data about coronavirus.
"People do not have confidence in the data provided by the state government," the delegation, led by state BJP President Dilip Ghosh, said. They also claimed Bengal was testing very fewer people.
Notably, 213 have contracted the virus in Bengal and seven have died.
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