New Delhi: A BJP youth worker's comment in Bengal declaring a "Rs 11 lakh bounty" for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was disowned today by the party in parliament, where furious opposition lawmakers targeted the government.
"You can protect cows, but women are facing atrocities," Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan said in the Rajya Sabha.
Yogesh Varshney, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, is on camera threatening the Chief Minister while accusing her of a police crackdown on a Hanuman Jayanti rally in Birbhum, around 180 km from Kolkata. Alleging that people were beaten up by the police, he called the Chief Minister a "demon" and said, "When I saw the video, I only had one thought... that if anyone gets me Mamata Banerjee's head I will give them 11 lakh."
As the comment was raised in parliament, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "I condemn this type of statement. The state government is free to take proper action."
His words did not silence the opposition, which demanded the worker's arrest.
Jaya Bachchan charged, "How dare anybody talk like this, especially about women? Is this the way you are going to be protecting the women of this country? Women are feeling insecure...is this what you are promoting?"
In response, the BJP's Rupa Ganguly shot back: "I am also a woman, I was beaten up by 17 goons of the Trinamool Congress in front of policemen. Let the Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) who is also a woman answer this?"
The protests were raised by Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, with its parliamentarian Sukhendu Shekhar saying: "The chief minister of West Bengal has been called a demon. A reign of terror is being unleashed in the name of religion in Bengal. This incident should be condemned."
In the Lok Sabha, another minister, Ananth Kumar, condemned the bounty comment.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, referring to past controversies, said "all sides must exercise restraint."
Congress's Mallikarjun Kharge said, "A strong message should go from the government against such behavior."