EC bars BJP’s Abhijit Gangopadhyay from campaign for remarks on Mamata Banerjee | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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EC bars BJP’s Abhijit Gangopadhyay from campaign for remarks on Mamata Banerjee

May 21, 2024 05:20 PM IST

EC has ‘strongly’ censured and barred Abhijit Gangopadhyay from all campaigning for 24 hours after his crass remarks about West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has “strongly censured” retired Calcutta high court judge and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate from West Bengal’s Tamluk constituency, Abhijit Gangopadhyay, and barred him from all campaigning for 24 hours after his crass remarks about chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The 24-hour bar on his campaigning will begin at 5pm on May 21.

Former Calcutta high court judge and BJP candidate Abhijit Gangopadhyay. (File Photo)
Former Calcutta high court judge and BJP candidate Abhijit Gangopadhyay. (File Photo)

“[T]he Commission painfully notes the fact that such abominable words have come from someone of Shri Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s educational and professional background and hence does not remotely deserve any benefit of doubt. And whereas, by Shri Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s words, he has brought damage and disrepute to the state of West Bengal that has a distinguished tradition of respect for women,” the poll body noted in its order.

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On May 15, Gangopadhyay, at a public meeting in Haldia, had said in Bengali, “’Mamata Banerjee, how much are you being sold for? Your rate is 10 lakhs, why? Because you’re getting your make up done by Keya Seth? Mamata Banerjee, is she even a woman? I keep wondering sometimes.”

The All India Trinamool Congress complained to EC on May 16 following which the poll panel issued a show cause notice to Gangopadhyay on May 17 for violating the Model Code of Conduct. He replied on May 20.

In its show cause notice to Gangopadhyay, copied to BJP president JP Nadda, the EC cited the April 1 order which directed parties to ensure that no remarks demeaning women must be made.

“Most regrettably, however, Shri Abhijit Gangopadhyay has committed the same type of violation to a worse degree. This is deemed as a grave failure to enforce one of the most basic conducts in election campaign, even after clear directions from the Commission,” the notice issued through West Bengal chief electoral officer said.

“[T]he Commission has carefully gone through the contents and averments made in the aforesaid reply of Shri Abhijit Gangopadhyay and has again gone through the statement made and is convinced that he has made a low-level personal attack and thus violated the provisions of Model Code of Conduct,” the EC said in its order on May 21.

Gangopadhyay resigned as a judge on March 5 and joined the BJP on March 7. His Lok Sabha constituency goes to polls in the sixth phase on May 25.

Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said : “ECI has every authority to take action against someone to ensure free and fair polling but we still maintain that TMC presented the former judge’s statement in a distorted manner. A man of his stature can never insult a woman. The ECI has taken no action against Mamata Banerjee for the insulting remarks she made against a monk of the Bharat Sevashram Sangha, accusing him of triggering a riot. It seems ECI needs to consult ENT specialists. It can go to AIIMS, Delhi for that.”

Banerjee alleged on Saturday and also on Monday that Swami Pradiptananda of the Sangha was working for BJP and he engineered a riot in Murshidabad district a few weeks ago. The monk sent a legal notice to Banerjee on Monday.

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