Kolkata: Misogynistic remarks against women politicians in India are unfortunately no rarity. But a member of Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has crushed a new low today in comments against actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly of the BJP.
- Roopa Ganguly, former actor, running for state assembly
- Former Left minister who joined Trinamool makes misogynistic remarks
- BJP complains to Election Commission about Rezzak Mollah's comments
Ms Ganguly famously played Draupadi in the blockbuster television serial Mahabharata. "I know the length of the cigarettes she smokes" and "She really is Draupadi" were among the vicious and offensive remarks in a character assassination by Rezzakh Mollah, who was a minister in the Left government. He was expelled by the Left in 2014 and joined the Trinamoool in February.
Ms Ganguly told NDTV, "This is just one example of what the Chief Minister and her party are doing to the women in Bengal" and added that Mr Mollah appears guilty of picking on well-known personalities like herself to score publicity during an election campaign. Women activists including legendary actor Aparna Sen urged Ms Banerjee to prove her commitment to protecting women's rights by penalizing Mr Mollah.
The BJP, Ms Ganguly's party, has complained about his statements, made on a local television channel, to the Election Commission and has asked for "the strictest action".
Ms Ganguly is running from Howrah North near Kolkata against former cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla who is a member of the Trinamool. Bengal has completed three of seven days of voting spread over this month and next.
But it's not just Ms Ganguly who has been attacked by Mr Mollah, who is hoping to be elected to the state assembly.
He attacked his party boss, Chief Minister Banerjee, for what he described as a penchant for selecting celebrity candidates and said Moon Moon Sen, Trinamool parliamentarian and former actor, accomplishes little.
"If there's infighting in the party, they look to give a ticket to some glamorous person - like Moon Moon Sen. What work will Moon Moon Sen do?" he challenged, suggesting the Lok Sabha member is incapable of addressing the needs of ordinary people.
Standing up for Ms Ganguly, Moon Moon Sen said, "She may belong to another party but we are civilized and intelligent human beings." Mr Mollah, she added, "probably doesn't believe in scriptures... or his Marxist ideology."