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May 18, 2024

TMC Lodges Complaint Against BJP Candidate for Sexist Remarks on Mamata Banerjee

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has lodged a formal complaint with the Election Commission (EC) against Abhijit Gangopadhyay, the BJP candidate for the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, alleging he made “sexist” remarks about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a public rally. This move comes as part of a broader strategy by TMC to hold political opponents accountable for their statements and conduct during the election season.

Shashi Panja, a prominent TMC leader and West Bengal minister, announced that the party intends to pursue legal action against Gangopadhyay, who is a former judge of the Calcutta High Court. This indicates TMC’s strong stance against misogynistic comments and its commitment to protecting the dignity of women in politics.

In a detailed letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, TMC leader Derek O’Brien outlined the offensive nature of Gangopadhyay’s comments. According to O’Brien, Gangopadhyay’s speech included derogatory questions and insinuations about Mamata Banerjee’s integrity and gender. O’Brien quoted Gangopadhyay as saying, “Mamata Banerjee, how much are you being sold for? Your rate is 10 lakhs, why? Because you’re getting your make-up done by Keya Seth? Mamata Banerjee, is she even a woman? I keep wondering sometimes.”

O’Brien emphasized that such remarks reflect a deep-seated misogynistic attitude and are especially concerning given Gangopadhyay’s previous high-standing position in the judiciary. “It is unfortunate that someone who has held a prominent position in the judiciary has chosen to attack the dignity of women, especially one who is holding a position of power,” O’Brien stated. The repetition of the offensive quotes in the complaint underscores TMC’s serious approach to addressing and condemning such behavior.

While PTI, a major news agency, has not independently verified the authenticity of the video containing the remarks, the TMC’s complaint underscores the broader issue of misogyny in Indian politics. Shashi Panja questioned Gangopadhyay’s understanding and respect for legal and ethical standards, given his judicial background. “Gangopadhyay is a candidate and a former judge. He must be aware of legal matters more than most of us. Can a candidate use such words?” Panja asked, highlighting the paradox of a former judge engaging in what the TMC describes as legally and morally inappropriate conduct.

The complaint by TMC is part of a larger trend of political parties in India increasingly resorting to legal and formal complaints to address grievances and hold opponents accountable for their public statements. This incident not only raises questions about the conduct of individual politicians but also about the broader cultural and societal attitudes towards women in positions of power.

By taking a firm stand, the TMC aims to reinforce the importance of respectful discourse in politics and to set a precedent for addressing sexist and misogynistic remarks within the political arena. This incident may also prompt a more in-depth discussion on the role of the judiciary and former judges in political life, particularly concerning their adherence to ethical standards.

The actions of the TMC in this case could potentially lead to more stringent scrutiny of political rhetoric and a push towards more respectful and inclusive political dialogue, especially concerning women leaders. This case is being closely watched as it unfolds, with potential implications for the conduct of political candidates and the enforcement of ethical standards in political campaigns across India.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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