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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

'Improper, injudicious, beyond dignity': EC raps Abhijit Gangopadhyay for remarks on Mamata Banerjee

The notice comes a day after Trinamul Congress lodged a complaint with the poll panel accusing Gangopadhyay of making derogatory statements against Mamata

Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 18.05.24, 06:13 AM
Abhijit Gangopadhyay.

Abhijit Gangopadhyay. File Photo.

The Election Commission on Friday served a notice on former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay, now the BJP candidate from Tamluk, over his "improper, injudicious, beyond dignity" remarks against chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The notice comes a day after Trinamool lodged a complaint with the poll panel accusing Gangopadhyay of making derogatory statements against Mamata.

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In its three-page notice, the commission has asked why action should not be initiated against Gangopadhyay and directed him to reply by 5pm on May 20. Tamluk, in East Midnapore, votes on May 25.

"Abhijit Ganguly has crossed limits of decency by trying to put a supposed monetary value on the only female CM in India Smt. @MamataOfficial, therefore disrespecting not just her but all the women of Bengal," Trinamul said on X.

Party sources said Gangopadhyay had made the comments at a public meeting in Haldia on May 15.

The poll panel’s notice describes Gangopadhyay’s remarks as “improper, injudicious, beyond dignity in every sense of the term, and in bad taste”.

It says the comments are prima facie violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and an advisory the poll panel had issued to political parties.

The commission has made it clear that if Gangopadhyay fails to respond to the notice within the deadline, it will assume that he has nothing to say on the matter and proceed against him for violating the MCC.

The notice refers to a recent poll panel advisory reminding political parties and candidates to avoid actions or utterances that could be seen as dishonouring the dignity of women.

The advisory underscored the importance of maintaining a respectful and dignified tone in political discourse, especially relating to women.

Trinamool welcomed the commission decision saying it was the right step to ensure that no woman was hurt during the election campaign.

“The Election Commission has issued a directive prohibiting personal attacks during the campaign,” Trinamool leader Shantanu Sen told The Telegraph.

“Despite this, a leader with a background (in the judiciary), who later joined the BJP, made a reprehensible comment about the country’s only woman chief minister. The Election Commission rightly issued a showcause notice to him.”

The Bengal BJP distanced itself from Gangopadhyay’s comments.

“Our party holds women in the highest regard. Gangopadhyay’s remarks reflect his personal opinion, and our party does not endorse such statements,” a senior BJP leader said on the condition of anonymity.

On March 27, the poll panel had issued a showcause notice to former state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, the party candidate from Bardhaman-Durgapur, for certain remarks he had made about Mamata.

The commission found Ghosh’s comments to be a “low-level personal attack” and a breach of MCC provisions. Ghosh eventually received a caution.

The poll panel has also served notices on the Congress’s Supriya Shrinate and Randeep Surjewala for their remarks against actresses and BJP candidates Kangana Ranaut and Hema Malini, respectively.

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