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BJP candidate’s Video with Derogatory Remarks against Mamata, “Fake Video” Says BJP

BJP candidate’s Video with Derogatory Remarks against Mamata, “Fake Video” Says BJP

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 16: In a fresh controversy between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP, the West Bengal’s ruling party is up in arms circulating a video with alleged derogatory comments against the chief minister Mamata Banerjee by the Calcutta High Court judge turned-politician Abhijit Ganguly, who is now the BJP candidate for the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat.

The BJP has promptly rejected the allegation claiming the video to be a “fake one.” “We don’t agree with the existence of any such videos. This is a ploy by the TMC to release fake videos and malign the BJP. But that won’t make any difference in the elections,” BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.

The purported comment by the former judge, who joined the BJP a day after quitting the judicial post and was promptly adopted by the BJP as its candidate, has provided massive ammunition to Trinamool, which has tagged the BJP as “anti-women” since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Didi-O-Didi” taunt in 2021.

The purported video of Mr Ganguly comes amid the Sandeshkhali row and the subsequent battle for the support of the state’s women voters. “A leader who has worked as a politically-minded upholder of the legal system and then went to the BJP, has made a disgusting comment about the only woman Chief Minister of the country,” said senior TMC leader Santanu Sen.

Mamata Banerjee, he pointed out, is a seven-time legislator, a former Union minister and a three-time Chief Minister. Now, a remark in such poor taste has been made against her, he said. “Is this Modi’s guarantee that in the interest of politics, women will be accorded no respect?” he added.

“I cannot even repeat the kind of language Abhijit Ganguly used for our Didi. They said ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. But when the same daughter is being disrespected, PM Modi is silent,” said the TMC candidate Kirti Azad. “The cases of Unnao, Hathras, Bilkis Bano, are in front of us… This kind of disrespect can only be dished out by the BJP,” said the former cricketer-turned-politician.

In 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s taunt for Ms Banerjee was seen as a factor in the Trinamool’s landslide victory in the assembly election. After Congress’s Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha after his allegedly derogatory comment on backward classes, the Trinamool demanded that the Prime Minister should also be disqualified over his “derogatory comments” on women.

In December last year, Union minister Giriraj Singh’s “thumka laga rahi hai” comment about Ms Banerjee shaking a leg with celebrities had also infuriated the TMC. “It’s evident that the BJP leaders find it incredibly hard to fathom a woman in power challenging their authority. Their archaic mindset, steeped in gender biases, is blatantly on display,” the party had posted on social media.

Meanwhile, the Congress West Bengal chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who was also the Congress leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha, on Thursday disputed the TMC’s membership in the opposition INDIA bloc alliance.

Mr Chowdhury, known for his acrimonious comments against Ms Banerjee, said he did not believe in what the Bengal chief minister said on Wednesday about the INDIA bloc of giving it all support from outside if voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections. “I don’t trust her… she left the alliance. She can also go towards the BJP.”

“What she will do from outside (the alliance) or inside… I don’t know. That you have to ask her,” the Congress leader told reporters, “But I don’t trust her. She left the alliance… she could even run to BJP.” “Whatever complaints she has (about the bloc) she should have raised earlier, when it was created,” Mr Chowdhury said.

Mr Chowdhury further pointed out the apparent U-turn came after polling for nearly 70 per cent of all Lok Sabha seats, with the opposition bloc claiming big advances in its bid to oust the ruling BJP. “They (referring to the BJP) were talking about destroying Congress and that Congress would not get 40 seats… but now (what) she is saying means Congress and INDIA are coming to power,” he said, appearing to suggest Ms Banerjee’s about-face followed a realisation the BJP will likely be defeated.

A day earlier Ms Banerjee – who had put her membership of the bloc on hold after public spats over seat-sharing deals – declared she would provide “outside support” in the event of an election win. “We will give leadership to INDIA and help… from outside. We will form a government so our Bengal mothers and sisters… and those who work in 100-days job scheme do not face problems,” she said.

This afternoon, at a poll rally in Tamluk, Ms Banerjee underlined her position, saying, “I am very much part of INDIA… it was my brainchild. We are together at national level and will continue to be together.”

Ms Banerjee did, though, make it clear – both on Wednesday and Thursday – that she does not see the Congress’ state unit and the CPM, as allies. The Congress and the CPM, which is also part of the INDIA bloc, are allied in Bengal (but rivals in Kerala), but have fielded candidates against the Trinamool.

The Bengal Chief Minister has frequently attacked the Mr Chowdhury-led Congress unit, and the CPM, as having unofficially joined the BJP. “They are not with us… they are with the BJP here.”



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