Sunil Bansal, BJP’s new minder for Bengal, began his innings in the state on Tuesday with a faux pas as his attempt to connect with the people of the state by translating his Hindi tweet into Bengali drew peals of laughter among the party’s functionaries and supporters.
The tweet in Hindi was about Bansal’s first ever official interaction with his colleagues in Bengal.
“Paschim Bangal ke Kolkata mein aaj pradesh prashikshan barg mein ‘karyakartaon-ka nirmaan evam vikash’ vishay par karyakartaon-ko sambodhit kiya,” he tweeted.
The English translation of the tweet is: “Addressed workers on the topic of ‘Building and Development of workers’ today at a training programme in West Bengal’s Calcutta.”
The following line was in Bengali and it appeared to be a translation of what he had written in Hindi.
“Aajkey Kolkatar Paschimbanger rajyer prasikshan bawrgo 'Kawrmokawrtar nirmaan emon vikash' vismoy kawrmokawrtader ke sawmbodhon korlam!!”
The sentence itself doesn’t make any sense. Also, he wrote “Kolkatar Paschimbanga”, which means “West Bengal of Calcutta”.
Two Hindi words — evam and vishay which mean “and” and “topic” respectively — were translated as emon (like) and vismay (surprise) in Bengal.
“I don’t know when this trend of our central leaders making mistakes will end.… It’s so embarrassing,” said a source in the BJP.
Central BJP leaders deployed in Bengal have had a history of getting either Bengal’s past or the language wrong. Before Bansal, other top rung BJP leaders, including the party chief J.P. Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah, had made similar goof-ups. Shah had once garlanded a statue of an adivasi man mistaking it to be that of tribal icon Birsa Munda. Nadda had said Rabindranath Tagore had been born in Santiniketan.
The mistakes had helped Mamata Banerjee strengthen her narrative that the BJP didn’t identify with the ethos of Bengal.
Minister and Trinamul leader Partha Bhowmick said those blunders showed why the people of Bengal had rejected the BJP.