Bharatiya Janata Party West Bengal unit President Dilip Ghosh has sparked outrage after he suggested that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should wear bermuda shorts instead of a sari if she wished to show her injured leg, PTI reported on Wednesday.
Banerjee was injured on March 10 in Nandigram district, in what she alleged was a conspiracy against her. The Election Commission, however, concluded that the chief minister had suffered injuries following an accident due to a security lapse.
After being treated at a Kolkata hospital for two days, Banerjee was discharged on March 12. She was back on the campaign trail a few days later, and has been addressing rallies on a wheelchair since. At all her rallies, she has been speaking of her injuries, and asserting that though her wounds are painful, they would not stop her. The BJP in return has scoffed at her, and has been claiming that photos of the wheelchair-bound Trinamool Congress chief with her leg covered in plaster was part of a “well-scripted drama”.
In a widely circulated video on social media, Ghosh claimed on Monday that after the cast was taken off and her foot was bandaged, Banerjee was now displaying her leg to everyone. The video was reportedly from an election meeting he addressed in Purulia district.
“She is wearing saree with one leg covered but kept another kept open for viewing,” the BJP leader said without naming the chief minister directly. “[I] haven’t seen anyone draping a saree in such a way. If she has to display her leg for viewing, she can very well wear bermuda shorts. That will help to have a better view.”
Ghosh’s statements were met with widespread condemnation and anger from political parties and their leaders, who called him out for his misogynistic thinking.
The Trinamool Congress wrote on Twitter that what the BJP leader had said was “vulgar” and distasteful. “The use of such derogatory language about a female chief minister proves that BJP leaders do not respect women,” the party added. “Mothers and sisters of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee on May 2 will give a worthy answer to this insult.”
The results for the elections in the state will be declared on May 2.
Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra, who is an outspoken critic of the Narendra Modi government, wondered how “these perverted depraved monkeys” could think they will win the elections in West Bengal.
Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar too expressed her shock.“It now appears that the role of BJP state president has been merely reduced to that of venom-spitting,” she wrote on Twitter. “From scathing attacks towards the CM of Bengal to violence towards Trinamool Congress workers – he has conveniently crossed all limits.”
Ghosh has not reacted to the criticism. But BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya told PTI that there there was no need to create a controversy over the remark.
“The chief minister makes many intemperate remarks against the BJP and our leaders at public meetings. Dilip Ghosh is a generous person,” Bhattacharya claimed. “Even if he made such a comment at a rally, it has to be kept in mind that many things are said at election meetings which should not be always considered seriously.”