The Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, now infamous "shot down like dogs" comment, on Wednesday repeated his comments of Sunday at a news conference in Kolkata and said, "If we come to power, the anti-nationals and those who destroy government property, they will be beaten with lathis, shot dead and jailed."
His comments came a day ahead of his probable re-election as state BJP chief, a process for which Union Minister Kiren Rijiju flew down to Kolkata in the afternoon. Other senior leaders are expected on Thursday for the election to be held at the National Library Auditorium.
"What I have said was said after thinking it through," Dilip Ghosh said, asked if he was rethinking what he had said at Ranaghat in Nadia district on Sunday, and accused the Left, Trinamool Congress and Congress of killing people in police firing during their respective reigns.
"In West Bengal, in the Naxalite period, Siddharth Shankar Ray killed many young men, shot them in the back. Those who cheered him on those days are now talking about ahimsa? Have they become old and has their blood cooled?" he said.
"Mamata went to Darjeeling and said jo hamse takrayega chur chur ho jayega. 11 Gorkhas were killed in police firing. Communists killed six Forward Block members and many refugees at Morirjhapi," he said.
CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty accused Mr Ghosh of whataboutery. "He said Assam and UP police shot people down like dogs. We challenged him on that, that indeed the BJP governments of UP and Assam did so. In our time, police opened fire as a last resort. And they are talking of killing people like dogs," he said.
Trinamool panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee dismissed Mr Ghosh's comments as the result of political jealousy.
The Benoy Tamang led Gorkha Janmukti Morcha also condemned the reference to the killing of 11 people in 2017. A statement said, "Dilip Ghosh.... has called the 11 martyrs who sacrificed their lives... antisocial elements who were rightly shot by the police for vandalising government property. He has also indicated that Gorkhas are foreigners and has likened the Gorkhas to dogs."
"The police had shot 11 Gorkhas which had heightened the agitation. He stated in a news channel that those who vandalise national property are to be shot like dogs," he said.
"We strongly condemn the BJP president Dilip Ghosh's statement and ask him to withdraw his statement at the earliest," he added.
The outrage of opponents at Mr Ghosh's comments will certainly be on the minds of BJP representatives who will elect a state party chief in Kolkata on Thursday. But that is unlikely to sway them against the only person, sources say, who has filed a nomination for the post.