Video of TMC leaders eating tricolour cake goes viral, invites criticism
A row has broken out in West Bengal’s Malda district over a video showing some local leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress cutting and eating a cake that resembles the tricolour to celebrate India’s 74th Independence Day. The widely circulated video has been criticised by the Congress and the BJP said it amounted to insulting the national flag.
The two-and-a-half minute video was shot at a public programme in the district’s Ratua area on Independence Day. It found its way to social media on Friday, and triggered a sharp reaction.
In the video, senior TMC leader Shehnaz Qadri, a cousin of Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s Malda unit president Mausam Noor, senior leader of Ratua, Sheikh Yasin, and head of the party’s Jai Hind Bahini unit in Malda, Krishna Das, could be seen enjoying the cake with local leaders.
Malda Congress chief Mostak Alam said the video reflected that the Trinamool Congress leaders didn’t respect the national flag. “The Indian flag is our pride. Our soldiers are dying at the border to keep the flag flying high while in Malda some senior leaders of the ruling party have forgotten their sacrifice,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lok Sabha MP from Malda (North), Khagen Murmu, also condemned the incident. “No Indian is supposed to disrespect the national flag in this manner,” he said, stressing that people did not expect any better from Trinamool.
TMC’s district vice-president Dulal Sarkar distanced the party from the controversy. “I haven’t seen the video but our party does not support this kind of an act. Nowadays many doctored videos are also doing the rounds. I don’t know whether this video is a genuine one,” he said.
TMC’s Shehnaz Qadri, who is facing a barrage over the video, called it a conspiracy to malign him.
“I had gone to Ratua to attend an Independence Day programme involving children. I was about to board my car and leave the venue when some people told me that they had brought a cake and urged me to cut it. I merely kept their request… We are all proud Indians and owe our allegiance to the nation,” Qadri told HT on Friday evening.
Yasin, another Trinamool leader spotted in the video, said the cake was brought by Krishna Das and other members of the Jai Hind Bahini, an outfit launched by Mamata Banerjee last year to boost the party’s outreach.
“Everybody was in a celebratory mood as the names of the Bahini’s unit leaders were also announced on that day. Nobody paid attention to the colour of the cake,” Yasin said. Das and Mausam Noor could not be contacted despite several attempts.