Kolkata: Senior CPI-M leader and former West Bengal Minister Anisur Rahman found himself in the eye of a political storm Thursday for making indecent comments against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Though Rahman, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) deputy leader in the state assembly, apologised in the evening, the Trinamool Congress submitted a privilege notice to Speaker Biman Banerjee.
Addressing a meeting of the party`s peasants wing Krishak Sabha in North Dinajpur`s Itahar, Rahman ridiculed Banerjee government`s decision to compensate victims of crimes against women like rape and trafficking.
"We have told the chief minister in the assembly that the government will pay money to compensate rape victims. What is your fee? If you are raped, what will be your fee?" said Anisur.
An angry Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said Rahman`s comments have humiliated not only the woman chief minister, but the entire woman community.
Chatterjee said he has given a notice of breach of privilege, supported by the video footage and newspaper clippings of Rahman`s speech, to the speaker.
"We hang our head in shame. It has tarnished Bengal`s culture," he said.
State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said: "I have never stooped to such lows. I have always believed in maintaining some standards in my public utterances. I don`t even like to comment on such obnoxious remarks".
Even the CPI-M took Rahman to task. "Rahman has always been a good comrade. But I don`t know what prompted him to make such comments. Whatever he has said is very improper," said party leader Shyamal Chakraborty.
Rahman was summoned to the state CPI-M headquarters at Alimuddin Street later in the day and given a dressing down by the leadership.
In the evening, Rahman tendered an apology to the chief minister as also the people of the state.
"I have uttered some words which are discourteous. Though I did not have any bad intent or wanted to insult anybody, I admit it was a mistake. I am sorry and repentant. I tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state including the chief minister," Rahman said in a written statement which he read out in a media meet.
"I have been an assembly member for 21 years. Such a thing never occurred in the past. I will be careful not to repeat such utterances in the future".
In a strong statement, CPI-M State Secretary Biman Bose described Rahman`s comments "undesirable" and "against the party`s political culture"
"Our party does not approve of his comments... We hope he will refrain form making such comments in future," Bose added.