Blow to Mamata: Bengal's advocate general and his deputy resign
In a blow to the Mamata Banerjee regime, Advocate General Jayanta Mitra and Additional Advocate General Lakshmi Gupta quit on Tuesday. Reason? "Differences of opinion with the government".
Jayanta is the third advocate general appointed by the Trinamool Congress government to resign "owing to differences". After the party came to power in 2011, it appointed Anindya Mitra as its chief law officer, only to see him quit after a year and a half. Anindya's successor Bimal Kumar Chattopadhyay served for a little over two years. Jayanta didn't last much longer either.
"Over two years and three months of my tenure, differences of opinion with the state government increased. I don't want to intervene any further. Let the government carry out its policies smoothly," Jayanta said after submitting his resignation.
As for Gupta, she resigned as the Additional AG because "we worked as a team but our team was broken when the AG resigned".
Apparently, Jayanta's resignation was effected by more than "differences of opinion". Sources in the Calcutta High Court said the Trinamool government was upset that Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar had to appear in the court - to explain his denial of permission to a rally by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in January - "because the AG didn't do his work properly". Hearing a petition against police's denial of permission to the RSS rally, the court had reprimanded the AG.
Jayanta's and Gupta's resignation letters will be sent for the governor's approval Wednesday.
Meanwhile, according to the sources, Kishore Dutta, a junior advocate, has emerged as the most likely successor to Jayanta.
Whoever gets the job, it's bound to be challenging, not least because a host of critical cases are scheduled for hearing over the coming few weeks, including the Narada scam, in which some of Mamata's ministers and party leaders are alleged to be involved.