Mamata gags Subrata after remark on Governor

In damage control mode, the Mamata Banerjee government today dropped Subrata Mukherjee — one of the most experienced cabinet ministers — from its list of spokespersons.

The move comes a day after Mukherjee, considered close to Mamata, launched a scathing attack on Governor M K Narayanan, daring him to sack the state government and saying that the "government was showing him the yellow card" for commenting on the state's law and order.

The government today announced that urban development minister Firhad Hakim and industry minister Partha Chattrjee would act as spokespersons.

Narayanan, the constitutional head of the state, took serious exception to Subrata's comments. Mukherjee, however, said he "sticks to what he had said yesterday".

Another senior MP from Mukherjee's party, though, defended Narayanan.

"Eminent constitutional expert Subhas Kashyap has said that what a governor can and cannot say is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution. I support Kashyap," Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said when asked about Mukherjee's comments.

After political violence at Bhangar, Narayanan, to a question on political culture in West Bengal, had said: "This is nothing to do with political culture. This is a kind of goondaism", indicating clearly that he disapproved of what happened.

Earlier this week, 70-year-old CPM lawmaker Abdur Rezzaq Mollah was attacked allegedly by former Trinamool MLA Arabul Islam is Bhangar, leading to violence at Bamanghata on Tuesday.

Narayanan had also said that a city like Kolkata and West Bengal cannot accept this and action has to be taken. He also questioned the impartiality of the police while dealing with the two incidents. "The police have to be impartial as far as that is concerned," he had said.

A day after he made this comment, Mukherjee showed him "the yellow card" and threatened to "show him the red card" in future if he continued to break constitutional obligations.

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