Snapping back at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for calling him a "BJP party man", state Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Thursday said that he should not be dragged into inter-party politics and asserted that everyone should think about the constitutional posts before passing a remark.
Calling Banerjee's statement "prerogative", Governor Dhankar told , "I should not be dragged into inter-party politics. I do not have a partisan approach. Doors of Raj Bhawan are open for anyone who comes to me. People from various parties come to me. I don't have a glass from where I look at the political tag of the person. Whatever Chief Minister has said it is her prerogative. In a democracy, everyone should have to regard the constitutional posts."
The Governor's remark came after Banerjee referred him as a "BJP party man" during a press conference at Trinamool Bhawan earlier in the day in Kolkata.
When she was asked about the Governor making statements about Ayushman Bharat scheme not being implemented in West Bengal, the Chief Minister did not let the reporter complete her question and said: "Don't ask me this question, I can't reply to their BJP party man".
Dhankar, who took oath as West Bengal Governor in July this year called Ayushman Bharat which aims to achieve universal health coverage a landmark scheme.
"In less than three months, Raj Bhawan has received over 3,000 applications from people in Bengal who need urgent medical assistance... I was left to wonder what is the state of affairs of the health assistance to the people of the state of West Bengal. I have always said that Ayushman Bharat is a landmark scheme," the Governor said.
"West Bengal is also entitled to that scheme. More than 1 crore families would get benefit from this. There is a scheme in the state. But in the interest of West Bengal, I will strongly favour the schemes brought by the central government for the people," he added.
Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) which is the flagship scheme of Government of India that provides a cover of up to Rs 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries).
The Governor further said that we need to work together in a federal society and emphasized that Ayushman Bharat scheme is globally acknowledged and helping people across the country.
"We need to utilise resources that are available for the benefit of the people of West Bengal. That situation is not there... I still do not understand why such a flagship scheme that is globally acknowledged and helping people across the country. But people of Bengal are not getting the benefit of that scheme. We must look into the situation if we have received 3000 applications," he said.
Dhankar also praised the Central Government for bringing down the prices of expensive treatment and medicines and said that people of West Bengal are also entitled to that.
"If I find that people are being deprived of benefits and they are suffering in the absence of this. It is my constitutional duty to flag the issue. I will always follow the Indian Constitution," he said.
Banerjee, who has been at loggerheads with the Central government over various issues, pulled out of the Modi government's flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat in the state in January this year.
( With inputs from ANI )