Kolkata: Facing flak from ally Congress and the Left on issues like farmers' suicides, poor health services and campus violence, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee government now has another front to cope with - Governor M.K. Narayanan.

Speculation of a conflict between the state's first citizen and the Chief Minister began on the issue of campus violence after some college principals were beaten up and harassed.

The finger of suspicion, in most cases, pointed to Banerjee's Trinamool Congress. The Congress, a constituent of the eight-month-old government, and the Left Front poured venom, accusing Banerjee of not doing enough to stop such incidents.

Narayanan too expressed displeasure over the attacks, calling for action against the perpetrators. The issue of farmer suicides is another growing area of confrontation between the Writers' Buildings and the Raj Bhavan. The Congress, whose ties with the Trinamool has sunk to new low, alleged that 25 farmers have ended their lives during the present regime.

Narayanan, a former National Security Adviser, described the suicides as "unfortunate" and told reporters that many agriculturists were deeply in debt. He asked the government to find a solution.

The Chief Minister, however, claimed that only one farmer had committed suicide since she took power in May resorted to the extreme step during her rule.

Banerjee's statement came a few hours after Narayanan's comment, downplaying the latter's concern.

Earlier, Banerjee denied that heavy debts were driving farmers to end their lives, claiming that the suicides were caused by "personal loans and family problems".

"Farmers' suicides are unfortunately taking place. We have to find ways to ensure that it does not happen... Many of them, I suppose, are deeply in dept," Narayanan had said.

The history of conflict between the governor and the Chief Minister is nothing new in Bengal. The five-year-tenure of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Narayanan's predecessor, was marked by frequent brushes with the erstwhile Left Front government, especially during the Nandigram violence in 2007.

Following police firing in East Midnapore district's Nandigram March 14, 2007, which led to the death of 14 people, Gandhi had criticised the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government.

Former Chief Minister and Marxist stalwart Jyoti Basu and his party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), had recurrent and bitter clashes with then governor A.P. Sharma on issues like appointment of the Calcutta Unviersity's vice chancellor.

West Bengal is not the only state to witness such clashes. Samir Kumar Das, professor of political science at Calcutta University, feels the conflict between the governor and the Chief Minister has its roots in the constitution itself.

"The constitution has empowered a governor to reject any proposal of the government... he is not a mere rubber stamp of the state government."

He said the present row between Narayanan and Banerjee was not serious."Till now, Narayanan has not given any sign that he will not go by the government's advice. I think that he simply expressed his personal view on farmers' suicides. After all, he is a citizen," Das added.(

(Agencies)