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Offensive remark on Mamata; CM steps in
Anil Basu at a meeting in Arambagh on Friday. Picture by Mahes Hazra

Calcutta, April 23: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today condemned the “deplorable” language former CPM MP Anil Basu had used against Mamata Banerjee last evening, calling it an “unpardonable offence’’.

Shunechhi. Eta otyonto nindoniyo (I’ve heard about it. It’s deplorable),” the chief minister said in remarks that made his position clear to his party.

He added: “Party ke bolechhi oke satarko kore dite. Bhobisyote jeno e dharaner bhasha shunte na hoy. Bhadrata, shalinatar dhar dharen ni… aar ki bolbo… communist sulabh katha emon hoyna. Eta kshamar ajogyo aparadh (I have told the party to caution him so we don’t have to hear such language in future. He spared not a thought for decency... what more can I say… such remarks go against communist culture. It’s an unpardonable offence).”

At a rally in his hometown Arambagh, Basu, a CPM district secretariat member in Hooghly, had referred to a red-light zone and used words like “bhatar” (patron or client) while claiming Trinamul was receiving its election funds from the US.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose tonight asked Basu to explain his remarks. Later, Basu told reporters at the CPM office in Tribeni, Hooghly, that he had already spoken to the chief minister.

“I have told the chief minister what I have to say. Whatever the chief minister has said is final,” Basu told reporters. Asked if he accepted he had made a mistake by attacking Mamata personally, Basu said: “Taholey tai korechhi (all right, that’s what I have done then).”

After his controversial remarks, Basu had continued: “Mamata has become like a camel of the desert. She is walking like a camel, head raised... she has forgotten to look downwards.”

Mamata reacted at a rally in Gobardanga, North 24-Parganas, saying: “They are resorting to personal slander. They are not aware that people are not taking this lightly.”

Last year, Basu had denounced Mamata’s Singur dharna saying: “She should have been pulled by her hair and dragged (home) to Kalighat and given a lesson for blocking a national highway.”

Taking the cue from the chief minister, CPM central committee member Benoy Konar too criticised Basu.

“He spoke out of anger and frustration… Trinamul has attacked our party workers and driven them out of their homes in many parts of Hooghly. But I must say, it wasn’t proper to make such comments against the Trinamul leader,’’ Konar said.

However, many CPM leaders have had a history of using controversial language while criticising Mamata. During the Singur and Nandigram agitations, Konar had himself said that women would show their “behinds’’ to Mamata.

The late Subhas Chakraborty had ridiculed the Trinamul leader’s Maa-Mati-Manush slogan saying: “She is an infertile woman; what does she know about Maa?” Jyoti Basu had called Mamata a “420 (cheat)” and the late CPM state secretary, Anil Biswas, had dubbed her “Jomero aruchi” which roughly translates as “even the devil wouldn’t touch her”.

Trinamul leaders Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi today complained to chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta and demanded the Election Commission get Basu arrested. “We gave him a CD with video clippings of Anil Basu’s speech and demanded that he be arrested immediately,” Chatterjee said.

“The abusive language he has used against our leader, who is a lady, cannot be tolerated. We have told the CEO (Gupta) that free and fair polls are not possible if he (Basu) is not put behind bars. His remarks are an insult to all women.”

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