Following West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s apology for colleague Akhil Giri’s remarks on President Droupadi Murmu, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee has asked if BJP national president JP Nadda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would do the same for MLA Suvendu Adhikari’s “derogatory” statement against a woman, tribal minister of the eastern state.
Terming the BJP as an “anti-tribal” party, Abhishek sought to know if Nadda and Modi have the courage to apologise for Adhikari’s comments in front of the Indian public. “Can they ‘walk the talk’ like Mamata Banerjee did?” he asked in a video clip shared by the TMC on Twitter on Tuesday.
The TMC MP further stated that his party has maintained its stance from the very first day that it does not support Giri’s comments on Murmu, and Banerjee apologised for the same by holding a press conference.
“The sheer disregard of the BJP towards the tribal community reflects in their actions,” the ruling party of Bengal tweeted along with the video clip of Abhishek’s statement.
The row began on Sunday after TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh tweeted a purported video of Adhikari making remarks against Bengal minister from the Schedule Tribe (ST) community Birbaha Hansda. In the clip, the leader of opposition in the Bengal assembly can be heard telling a group of people while pointing to one direction that those “sitting there are kids”.
“They are kids. Debnath Hansda [TMC legislator] and Birbaha Hansda, who are sitting there, are children. They remain under my shoes,” the BJP leader said.
HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
During her press conference on Monday, Banerjee attacked the saffron camp over Adhikari’s alleged remarks. “Birbaha Hansda belongs to a tribal family and is associated with cultural activities. Is it right if someone says that she is worthy of staying under the shoes or is it acceptable if someone says that a person looks like a raven?” the Bengal CM asked.
Adhikari was scheduled to attend a rally in Lalgarh on Sunday but failed to reach the venue after Hansda staged a sit-in demonstration on the road. However, when pressed later, the BJP leader denied making any such comment. “I didn’t say this,” he told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.
BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, meanwhile, said the remarks of Adhikari and Giri cannot be compared.