Kolkata, February 24: In what may be a first of sorts in legislative history, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday summoned West Bengal’s legislature for a session well past mid-night at 2 AM on March 7.
Dhankar said he was merely acting on the recommendation of the Mamata Banerjee-led cabinet which he described as unusual , though both state government officials as well as the state’s speaker Biman Banerjee said the request for calling the assembly session at 2 AM was a case of a simple “typographical error” where PM became AM.
If the session is indeed called at 2 AM at night, it will mean legislators will have to literally burn the midnight oil as well as Governor Dhankar who would have to give his opening speech at that odd hour.
Independent India’s Parliament held a session where Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made his famous “tryst with destiny” speech at the stroke of mid-night. Both the Parliament and many state legislative assemblies have stretched their debates and discussions to timings past midnight to address urgent business, but rarely if ever has a house been summoned at such a late hour.
In a tweet, Dhankar said that finding the timing of the session “after midnight somewhat odd,” he had called the state Chief Secretary for urgent consultation before noon Thursday. However, “there was usual compliance failure,” he complained.
Thereafter, he took the decision to call the house at the odd hour “accepting the cabinet decision,” the Governor said.
“Invoking article 174 (1) of Constitution, accepting Cabinet Decision, Assembly has been summoned to meet on March 7, 2022 at 2.00 A.M,” he tweeted.
“Assembly meeting after midnight at 2.00 A.M. is unusual and history of sorts in making, but that is Cabinet Decision,” Dhankar added.
The Governor in his tweet pointed out the proposal in the cabinet memo which he received the state cabinet said, Now it is proposed that West Bengal Legislative Assembly may be summoned by Hon’ble Governor on 7.03.2022 at 2 am.
Reacting to the decision, BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who is also the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly tweeted Midnight session !!! State Government’s head is in disorder.
The governor had earlier sent back a recommendation by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for summoning the Assembly for the Budget Session, saying that as per constitutional provision, it must come from the state Cabinet. (PTI)