Two very assertive governors, one emotional, one clinical
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Narayanan, on the other hand, is probably not quite as impulsive though he is no less incisive, says the bureaucrat. He draws his strength from a deep reach in the bureaucracy; his letters and reports to the Centre, including those to the home ministry, are said to be much more aggressive than his manner suggests, and are backed by data and facts. Gandhi's criticism of the state government reflected his principles, while Narayanan's criticism is based on a facts-based analysis of the situation. He appears restrained but can be scathing should the situation demand that, the bureaucrat says.
Narayanan, 78, sprang his first surprise as governor a year after his arrival in Kolkata. He visited Netai in Lalgarh, where nine villagers had been massacred by armed CPM cadres in 2011. A former National Security Adviser in the PMO with a long background with the Intelligence Bureau, Narayanan took a first-hand look into one of the worst carnages the state had seen. It was indicative of the tough stances he would take in volatile political circumstances.
On arrival at Netai, he refused to be taken on a "conducted tour" by policemen. He charted his own route, inspecting the site minutely, talking to villagers, visiting the local police station and questioning senior officers there. The statement he came out with was: "...For our state, it is a day of sorrow and shame. This has gone on far too long. It is time to act and not talk..."
"It is very difficult to bluff Governor Narayanan. Beneath his quiet, serene exterior, there is an extremely tough administrator. Maybe he is tougher than Gandhi," says a Trinamool Congress leader who has interacted with Narayanan while in opposition and now in power.
"Narayanan's long association with the high-ups in the corridors of power works to his advantage. He does not depend merely on official government reports for making an assessment of a situation. He has several parallel and authentic channels to source his information from, and to make independent assessments."