- BJP's Roopa Ganguly criticised for saying women aren't safe in Bengal
- Trinamool leader responded with an acerbic reply
- Verbal exchange comes after gang-rape of 3 women last month in Raiganj
Attacking the Mamata Banerjee government on the law and order situation in the state, Ms Ganguly on Friday said, "Send their (Trinamool workers) wives and daughters to Bengal... If they are able to survive there for 15 days without getting raped, then tell me."
The Trinamool Congress' rebuttal was quick and acerbic.
"Before accusing the entire state... she should also speak out how many times she has been raped in Bengal, then it will be realised what is the truth behind this utterance," said minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay.
A police inquiry was also initiated against state BJP President Dilip Ghosh for his comments on Friday against the West Bengal government, news agency PTI reported.
The verbal exchange that saw the politics in West Bengal touching a new low comes amid a row over the alleged gang-rape of three tribal women last month in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district. The tribals in the area went on a rampage demanding arrests in the case. A statement by the BJP later blamed the police for failing to arrest any of the culprits and "working as the yes-man of Trinamool Congress".
The BJP, according to news agency ANI, defended Ms Ganguly, saying that rather than focusing on the literal meaning of her statement, importance should be given to the subject matter itself.
Ms Ganguly has emerged as the most vocal face of the party, which has stepped up its vote share in the state from 9 per cent in 2011 election to 31 per cent in the 2016.
West Bengal has been a boiling point for almost a month now over the recent communal unrest in Basirhat, and the ongoing campaign for a separate state of Gorkhaland in Darjeeling that is led by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, an ally of the BJP.