Ex-judge censured over remarks on Mamata Banerjee: 'Low-level personal attack'

The Election Commission censured BJP candidate Abhijit Gangopadhyay for making sexist remarks against Mamata Banerjee and barred him from campaigning for 24 hours.
Ex-judge censured over remarks on Mamata Banerjee: 'Low-level personal attack'
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The Election Commission on Tuesday censured Abhijit Gangopadhyay, BJP candidate for Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, for his 'what's your price' jab at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a public rally.

In its order, the poll body debarred Gangopadhyay from campaigning, for a period of 24 hours, beginning 5 pm on May 21, 2024 (today).

The Election Commission also strictly warned Gangopadhyay to remain careful in his public utterances during the Model Code of Conduct.

"This, the Commission hereby strongly censures Abhijit Gangopadhyay for the above-said misconduct and debars him from campaigning for 24 hours starting from 17.00 hrs of 21st May, 2024. The Commission also strictly warns Abhijit Gangopadhyay to remain careful in his public utterances during the currency of Model Code of Conduct," an official statement by the Election Commission read.

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Ex-judge censured over remarks on Mamata Banerjee: 'Low-level personal attack'

On Friday, the Trinamool Congress had complained with the Election Commission against Gangopadhyay, alleging that he made "sexist" remarks against Mamata Banerjee.

Trinamool leader and West Bengal minister Shashi Panja had also said the party will also take legal action against Gangopadhyay, a former judge of Calcutta High Court.

In a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said, "In the said speech, Gangopadhyay has made certain highly offensive utterances, being: 'Mamata Banerjee, how much are you being sold for? Your rate is 10 lakhs, why? Because you're getting your make-up done by Keya Seth? Mamata Banerjee, is she even a woman? I keep wondering sometimes."

"This clearly shows the misogynist conduct of the BJP candidate. It is unfortunate that having being held a prominent position in the judiciary, he has chosen to attack on the dignity of women, especially one who is holding a position of power," the letter stated.

In its order, the Election Commission on Tuesday said, "Abhijit Gangopadhyay has committed the same type of violation to a worse degree."

The poll body also advised BJP president JP Nadda to issue an advisory from his party's side to all candidates and campaigners, to make sure that this lapse does not recur during the campaign period.

As per the Commission's statement, it has "carefully gone through the contents and averments made in the aforesaid reply of Abhijit Gangopadhyay and has again gone through the statement made, and is convinced that he has 'made a low-level personal attack' and thus violated the provisions of Model Code of Conduct."

The Election Commission stated that "women have commanded the highest respect in Indian society, past and present, and while the Indian Constitution and all institutions of the country have constantly pursued the ideas and ideals of ensuring the rights and dignity of women on all fronts and further empowering them."

The poll body also said the "Commission is duly engaged in strengthening women's representation and participation in the electoral process, and while the gender gap in electoral registration and voter turnout has vastly improved, and in fact, women have surged ahead."

The Commission said it "remains uncompromisingly committed to the same above declaration and finds Abhijit Gangopadhyay's statement a direct affront on the 'erosion of the status of women in India'; and such a statement that is outrightly condemnable when used in respect of any woman, not to speak of a senior political leader and holder of a constitutional position, who he has targeted."

"The Commission painfully notes the fact that such abominable words have come from someone of Abhijit Gangopadhyay's educational and professional background and hence does not remotely deserve any benefit of doubt. Abhijit Gangopadhyay's words, he has brought damage and disrepute to the state of West Bengal and has a distinguished tradition of respect for women," the Election Commission said.

Source: India Today

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