West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today condemned and apologised for her minister's comments on President Droupadi Murmu. Saying it is not in her party's culture to make personal comments, she added the MLA has been cautioned over his comments and her party has also apologised.
"We respect the President a lot. She is a very sweet lady, I apologise for the comments," Ms Banerjee said, adding that "Akhil (Giri) has done something wrong; I condemn the comments and I apologise.
"Beauty is not about how you look, it is about how you are from the inside," she added.
West Bengal BJP MLAs marched to the Raj Bhavan this afternoon in protest against the distasteful comments by Trinamool minister Akhil Giri on the President of India. The BJP MLAs were heard singing songs and were led by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.
Speaking to reporters, Suvendu Adhikari said, "Even 72 hours after his comments, the Chief Minister has not recommended his sacking to the Governor, and she has not even asked him to resign. We had emailed the Governor on Saturday. We have come to the Raj Bhavan with a demand. This is not an appeal. There is enough scope in the Constitution for him to advise the Chief Minister to sack the minister, whether he is in Delhi, Imphal, or Chennai. How he does it is his matter."
"We have written this here. We have not come to the Raj Bhavan to have tea with his Secretary. Our message needs to reach the Governor and that is why we came here to say this," he added.
After the video clip of his comments went viral, Mr Giri had apologised for making such a remark.
In a 17-second video clip, Mr Giri was heard commenting on the "looks of the President".
"They (BJP) said that I am not good-looking. We don't judge anyone by their appearance. We respect the office of the President (of India). But how does our President look?" Mr Giri, the minister of state for Correctional Homes, was heard saying at a rally in a village in Nandigram late on Friday evening.
Calling the comments "irresponsible" and "misogyny", the party had distanced itself from Mr Giri's remarks.
"We have the utmost respect for Hon'ble President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu. Our party strongly condemns the unfortunate remarks made by MLA Akhil Giri and clarifies that we do not endorse such statements. In the era of women's empowerment, such misogyny is unacceptable," the party tweeted.
Trinamool also pointed out several instances of BJP leaders indulging in personal attacks on TMC leaders, especially Tribal MLA and minister Birbaha Hansda. Hitting out at Suvendu Adhikari, the TMC said, "Belittling women & the ST community comes as second nature to @SuvenduWB. He has used the most unparliamentary language for MLA @Birbaha_Hansda, who is a daughter of the soil, a proud adivasi. Any sermon on respect for women from @BJP4India leaders is a cruel joke"