Jagdeep Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with Bengal government over a range of issues
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said that political violence is stigmatising the state and asked the police and bureaucrats to work as "public servants, not political servants".
He maintained that his recent Twitter post saying more than one rape or kidnapping took place in West Bengal every hour in August was based on official data, though the state Home Department, which is under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, termed it as "baseless".
"West Bengal is the cultural epicentre of the world. Political violence is stigmatising the state," Mr Dhankhar said while addressing a press conference here in North Bengal.
His statement came days after Manish Shukla, a BJP leader of Titagarh in North 24 Parganas district, was shot dead, with the saffron party claiming that the TMC was behind it. The ruling party has denied the charge.
"We have an unrivalled heritage. Why should our face be blackened by such kind of political violence, political vendetta, targeted killings with no space for the opposition? This is not democracy," he said.
The governor, who has been at loggerheads with the state government over a range of issues, asserted that he means it if he says that the state will have free and fair polls.
Assembly elections in West Bengal are likely to be held in April or May next year.
The Raj Bhavan and the Trinamool Congress government had on October 6 crossed swords over statistics of rapes and kidnappings with the state Home Department questioning the authenticity of the figures quoted by Mr Dhankhar.
After the department tweeted that the "allegations are baseless, ill-founded, and misguiding", the governor asked the chief secretary and additional chief secretary in-charge of Home Department to withdraw it.
"All bureaucrats, in administration and police, must never forget that they have to be politically neutral. They are public servants, they are not political servants," Mr Dhankhar said in the press conference.
Describing the situation as grim and alarming, he said, "The long arm of the law will catch up with them. We cannot have bureaucracy and police that is politicised."