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Minister in ‘brooms for paramilitary’ dust-up

BJP complains against Ratna Ghosh

By Subhasish Chaudhuri in Chakdah
  • Published 18.04.19, 2:02 AM
  • Updated 18.04.19, 2:02 AM
  • 2 mins read
Ratna Ghosh (in the sari with red border) shows the victory sign with Trinamul’s Ranaghat candidate Rupali Biswas Telegraph picture

A purported video of Bengal minister Ratna Ghosh shows her asking women to “chase central forces away from polling booths with brooms if they commit any excesses” and asserting there is “nothing unfair in war”.

The BJP has complained to the Election Commission against the purported comments, made by Ghosh at a Trinamul workers’ meeting in Nadia on April 15.

BJP chief Amit Shah cited the alleged comments and said they showed Trinamul believed in “violence and anarchy”. Ghosh did not respond to calls and text message seeking her comment on the row.

“To win a war, there is nothing called fair or unfair, democratic or undemocratic. We have to win the war. For that, you should take whatever measures are needed,” the minister for micro, small and medium enterprises is heard saying in the purported video of the closed-door meeting at Shimurali for the Ranaghat Lok Sabha seat.

The broom threat follows. “If the central force jawans commit any excesses, we will ask our women wing leaders to chase the forces away with brooms wherever they stop us and force them to retreat,” Ghosh, an MLA from Nadia’s Chakdah, is heard saying in the clip.

The minister is then heard reminding the Trinamul members how they had “worked” in the 2016 Assembly elections and ensured victory.

“You have shown your capabilities in the 2016 elections. I had seen how central forces chased you. Our boys were beaten up. This time, the challenge is bigger…..”

Trinamul insiders said some party workers had filmed the speech of the minister on phone and posted it on social media. The clip was deleted when it went viral.

The BJP, which has been demanding central forces at polling booths, seized on the clip.

“Finally, Mamata Didi’s trusted lieutenant accepts that her party believes in the idea of violence and anarchy. But I want to remind Mamata Didi that such destruction of democracy won’t last long. People of Bengal will vote out TMC at the hustings. Her time is up!,” BJP chief Shah tweeted.

Prasenjit Sarkar, chief election agent of the BJP’s Ranaghat candidate Jagannath Sarkar, said: “We have submitted the footage to the EC along with a complaint.”

Poll panel sources said the Nadia district magistrate had been asked to submit a report.

Trinamul’s Nadia president Gourisankar Dutta said “we have nothing to do” with the remarks. “If the poll panel finds any violation of the model code in her speech, it may take action.”