Kolkata: The CPI-M on Sunday said the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government was now making desperate efforts to placate Governor MK Narayanan since it was now afraid of being "red-carded" by the central government.
"The state Congress has said if you red-card the governor, New Delhi will also show the red card to you. So now (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee has become afraid," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretariat member and former minister Gautam Deb said at a party rally.
Deb's comments came in the wake of a spat between Narayanan and Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee that resulted in the minister being removed as government spokesman.
After the CPI-M-Trinamool Congress clashes in Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district that left many, including CPI-M veteran Abdur Rezzak Mollah, injured, Narayanan said the situation was akin to "some kind of goondaism".
A day later, Mukherjee criticised Narayanan for "speaking like a politician" and called him a "Congress-appointed constitutional head".
Speaking to some mediapersons, Mukherjee also said: "We have shown him (Narayanan) the yellow card now. If the time comes, we will hand the red card. We are keeping a watch on him."
This prompted state Congress chief Pradip Bhattacharya to remark: "If the state government talks of showing the yellow card to the governor, then the central government can also show the red card to the Mamata regime".
The governor, on his part, firmly retorted that he stood by whatever he had said, while Mukherjee also stuck to his position.
However, Banerjee then sent Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee twice to Narayanan. Though there has been no official word on what transpired at the talks, speculation is rife that Chatterjee was sent as a damage control measure.
On Saturday, Narayanan and Banerjee met for the first time after the controversy broke out at the inauguration of the World Youth Festival. Both seemed comfortable and pally with each other.