"Who Is This Liar?" Trinamool Leader Attacks Bengali Poet, A Padma Bhushan Awardee

Poet Shankha Ghosh, a Padma Bhushan awardee published a poem earlier this week -- a satire on the word "unnayan" or development -- the favourite word of Anubrata Mondal, Trinamool's Birbhum district chief.

'Who Is This Liar?' Trinamool Leader Attacks Bengali Poet, A Padma Bhushan Awardee

Mamata Banerjee had publicly pulled up Anubrata Mondal in December during a rally in Burdwan.

Kolkata:  The panchayat polls have pitted West Bengal's best known poet Shankha Ghosh against one of Trinamool's serial verbal offenders, Anubrata Mondal, someone Mamata Banerjee has praised in the past but in December publicly issued "a last warning" to after some outrageous comments by him. It is not known if Ms Banerjee has privately reprimanded him for attacking Shankha Ghosh.

The Padma Bhushan awardee published a poem earlier this week -- a satire on the word "unnayan" or development - the favourite word of Mr Mondal, Trinamool's Birbhum district chief.

Mr Mondal has used the word 'unnayan' repeatedly recently as a double entendre for development and muscle power. Mr Ghosh lampooned the double entendre in the poem titled 'Mukto Ganatantra'.

While filing nominations for panchayat polls, Mr Mondal said, when the opposition candidates come to file nominations, they would find "unnayan" standing on the road. The opposition saw it as a threat after its candidates found sword-wielding, bomb-hurling, gun-toting men, allegedly related to Trinamool, flocking the administrative offices where nominations were to be filed. Many didn't brave the "unnayan" standing on the road and stayed away from filing nominations, say opposition parties.

In his poem titled Freedom of Democracy, Shankha Ghosh wrote:

Open your three eyes and see,
On the road stands development,
Holding a sword...

All pay me obeisance
Free democracy will spread
Everywhere today.

At a public rally in Purulia on Wednesday, Mr Mondal attacked Mr Ghosh, saying, "I know Rabindranath, Nazrul. Who is this poet? He can't write. He is a liar. I say, development is standing on the road."

Mr Mondal dragged the BJP in his attack. He said, "Isn't development standing on the road? Go ask people. They will say they have got something or the other. Isn't that development?

"Poet, didn't you see when Dilip Ghosh (state BJP chief) spoke of skinning people and applying salt and chilli? You shouldn't be called Shankha, it is an insult to the word (which means conch shell), what did you do when Dilip Ghosh was saying people would be sent to the crematorium?"

Mr Mondal's remark has angered literary figures. Poet Mandrakanta Sen protested in rhyme.

"So wretched my country is,
So unruly my state,
The illiterate shout loudly,
Ignoring the poet"
(amateur translation)

Shankha Ghosh had raised his voice against violence in Nandigram in 2007 and expressed concerns about increasing incidents of communal tension in Bengal in recent months.

CPM leader Biman Bose condemned Mr Mondal's attack on the poet saying, "We all bow our heads before Shankha Ghosh. And this man is asking who is he? This misbehaviour isn't acceptable."

If Mamata Banerjee has pulled up Mr Mondal, it has been done privately. But she had publicly castigated the Birbhum leader on December 12 during a rally in Burdwan.

"This is my last warning to Keshto," Ms Banerjee had said, referring to Mr Mondal by his nickname. "Don't speak in the language of the BJP," she said.

Mr Mondal had made some controversial remarks about the incident in Rajasthan when a labourer from Malda had been brutally stabbed to death.

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