Nabanna vs Raj Bhavan: Inside the murky corridors of power in Bengal

One loses count of the number of occasions West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar engaged in a war of words with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government since taking oath as Governor on July 31 last year | Image - Eunice Dhivya

Last month, West Bengal witnessed a very strange situation of a premier university having to end up with two pro-vice chancellors — one appointed by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and another by the state government.

It so happened that Dhankhar appointed Professor Goutam Chandra, the head of Burdwan University's zoology department, as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the institution overlooking the recommendations of the state government. Hours after the appointment, the state’s higher education department came out with its own notification appointing Professor Ashis Kumar Panigrahi of Zoology department, Kalyani University, in the same post.

The Burdwan University was spared a major showdown after Dhankar dragged his foot back. "I had a telephonic conversation with (chief minister) Mamata Banerjee. The state is going through a crisis and I want this [Pro-Vice Chancellor appointment issue] to be resolved. I want to put a lid on the controversy as of now," he told a press conference on June 3.

The ceasefire did not last long as Dhankar has made it almost a habit to cross swords with the state government, giving an impression of him being a de facto leader of the Opposition.

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