West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh again courted controversy on Saturday by reiterating that protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and Kolkata’s Park Circus were poor and sitting on the road for money.
“Poor people, who are unaware, have been made to sit on the roads. In return, they are receiving money every day. They are being fed biryani bought with foreign funds. This is being done to show that people are with them,” Ghosh said at a party workers’ meeting in Kolkata.
“Be it Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh or Kolkata’s Park Circus, the picture is same everywhere. People like Brinda Karat and P Chidambaram attend these gatherings when they go to Delhi or Kolkata. Some illiterate women with babies on their lap are sitting there. They are the only audience,” he said.
His comments came a day after Home Minister Amit Shah, in his first public remarks after the results for the Delhi Assembly were announced, had said provocative remarks such as “goli maro” and “India vs Pakistan” match by BJP leaders could have contributed to the party’s defeat in the polls.
Women have been staging sit-ins at Shaheen Bagh and Park Circus since December 15 and January 7 against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). The Shaheen Bagh protest has inspired many such sit-ins across the country, including in Park Circus.
Meanwhile, Ghosh told workers that the BJP was ready to give a stiff fight to the TMC in the upcoming civic polls.”In terms of power, we have no difference now. So if we fight seriously, we will win the civic poll,” he told party workers.
Reacting to Ghosh’s remarks on protesters, Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Subrata Mukherjee mockingly said: “He is so powerful that just by hearing his name we get scared.”
CPM leader Mohammed Salim said the BJP leader’s comment was far from reality.
“Ghosh was never a part of students’ politics, mass movements and grassroots politics. No person who has a minimum sense of ground reality can make such comments about these women,” Salim said.
Ghosh had earlier sought to know who was funding the Shaheen Bagh protesters and wondered how none of them had died despite sitting in the cold.
“We came to know that women and children are protesting against the CAA and are sitting under the open sky during this cold winter nights in Delhi. I wonder why none of them has fallen sick. Why has nothing happened to them? Why has not a single protester died there? This is quite absurd. Have they consumed some sort of nectar that nothing is happening to them,” Ghosh had told reporters.
Earlier this month, the BJP MP from Medinipur was booked for alleged sexual harassment after a college student, who was displaying a ‘No CAA, No NRC’ placard, was heckled during his pro-CAA rally. The placard was torn by his supporters. “She should thank her stars that only the poster was torn and nothing was done to her,” he had said.
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