The ignominous chapter of foulspeak in Bengal politics got an infamous addition on Tuesday when a video footage surfaced where Trinamool Congress MP from Krishnanagar, Tapas Pal, purportedly threatened CPI(M) supporters with rape and murder.
"I will shoot them myself… and let loose my men to rape your women…," Pal is purported to have told his supporters in Choumaha village, around 65km from capital Kolkata.
The authenticity of the footage – which appeared to have been shot with a mobile phone camera – could not be ascertained.
Pal allegedly made the provocative statement on June 14.
He was speaking in the village where he had gone after receiving reports of attack on a woman and a child who were Trinamool supporters. The assaulters were allegedly CPI(M) supporters.
Though television channels played the clip several times, Pal told HT that he could not remember any occasion where he made such remarks.
"I am not from Kolkata. I am from Chandannagar. I carry maal (meaning firearms). If anybody dares to touch our supporters, I will come and shoot them myself. Let them stop me, if they can," Pal was heard saying in the footage.
His party was quick to condemn what the MP had said. "The statements made by Tapas Pal are utterly insensitive. The party does not in any way endorse what he said many weeks ago, which is being played out on TV channels today," party spokesperson Derek O'Brien said in a statement.
State BJP president Rahul Sinha said, "It is the vilest statement one can imagine. However, coming from a Trinamool MP it is not surprising as the chief minister herself wants to settle rape complaints with money".
TMC's bitter rival CPI-M also reacted with indignation.
"The sort of adjectives Pal used are usually heard on the lips of anti-socials. We just can't imagine any man in his senses would utter such words," CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb said.
During the speech, Pal was heard to repeatedly emphasise that he was not a sober gentleman but a ruffian, who would not think twice about violent retribution if his party supporters were attacked by the CPI(M).
Pal, 58, was elected to the Lok Sabha on a Trinamool Congress ticket for the second time from Krishnanagar. He was elected as an MLA from Alipore in 2001 and 2006.
In 2009, he quit the assembly seat to contest and win the Lok Sabha elections.
Pal was a popular actor in Tollywood and joined Trinamool Congress in the beginning of the last decade.
Over the past few years, the political temperature of Bengal has been rising steadily with numerous incidents of political violence and desperate statements from politicians.
While many CPI(M) leaders made unprintable comments before during 2008-2011 when the party steadily lost ground, over the past couple of years, Trinamool leaders have stepped into their shoes.