Courting a fresh controversy, Trinamool Congress MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee has publicly threatened to “chop off the hands and gouge out eyes” of those who dared to challenge the ruling party in West Bengal, following which the Opposition BJP Tuesday got an FIR registered against him. The BJP will also move Calcutta High Court on Wednesday over the issue.
“No one, other than Mamata Banerjee had raised voice on behalf of the common people of the state. As long as Mamata Banerjee is here, if you dare to show your eyes, we will gouge them out and throw them on the road. If you raise your hand, we will severe it from your body….But we must keep in mind that in a democracy, it is the common man who will have the last word,” Abhishek, the Diamond Harbour MP, had said Monday at a meeting at Basirhat North 24-Parganas district in the presence of senior party leaders.
The comments of 27-year-old first-time parliamentarian drew severe criticism from opposition parties even as Kamal Beriwala, secretary, state BJP unit, lodged a complaint at the Joarasanko police station, accusing Abhishek of instigating TMC workers to attack opposition workers.
“The comments are the reflection of the DNA of Trinamool Congress,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said.
BJP state president Rahul Sinha, too, said such statements were expected of the ruling party and its leaders. “It is normal for the leader of a party whose MP says that he will let loose boys into the houses of Opposition members to rape their women,” he said adding that Abhishek’s speech was the reverberation of what CPI(M) had been saying for the last 34 years. He said his party will file another police complaint against Abhishek in Basirhat. “We want the keepers of law to intervene and take action against him,” he said.
CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury condemned the statement and said it was equivalent to criminal intimidation. “Human civilization has traveled a long way from the days of eye-for-an-eye philosophy. This is nothing but a criminal intimidation. In a democracy it is not expected but this is also unfortunate coming from a ruling party leader,” Yechury, who is in Kolkata to attend party’s two-day state committee meeting, told reporters.
In a veiled dig at Mamata, CPI-M state secretary and Opposition leader Surya Kanta Mishra said, “I can’t blame the child for this (type of statement) because of the way he has been brought up”.
While Abhishek and party spokesperson Derek O’Brien were not available for comments, TMC’s Basirhat MP, Idris Ali, stood by Diamond Harbour MP’s comment. “Whatever Abhishek had said, I fully support it. Media has distorted his statement,” Ali told The Indian Express.
This is not the first time that Abhishek, who heads the youth wing of Trinamool Congress, has been in a controversy. In a personal attack on Siddharth Nath Singh, who is also BJP in-charge for Bengal, Abhishek had said: “If (former Prime Minister) Lal Bahadur Shastri had known how his grandson would turn out to be, he would have remain unmarried”.
Also, he had brushed aside a massive protest by Jadavpur University students against the Vice-Chancellor last year saying the protesters only wanted to get access to ganja and alcohol on campus.
In January this year, he remained a passive bystander even as TMC workers brutally thrashed a mentally-ill person who slapped him at a public meeting.