Mamata Flaunting 'Broken Leg' in Saree Not Reflection of Bengali Culture: BJP's Dilip Ghosh

The BJP Bengal president's remark has been criticised for being sexist.

New Delhi: Justifying his controversial comment on chief minister Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Dilip Ghosh said on Thursday that a woman in a saree flaunting her leg is not a reflection of the Bengali culture.

Addressing an election rally in Purulia on Tuesday, Ghosh had targeted Banerjee over her injured leg, saying that if she has to display her “broken leg” for votes, she can very well wear bermuda shorts, which help people see it clearly.

Ghosh said, according to news reports, “People don’t want to see her face, that’s why she’s showing her broken leg… She is wearing a saree that covers one leg and shows the other. Never seen someone wear a saree like that. If you want to show your leg, then wear bermuda.”

Asked about the comment, Ghosh told reporters, “Being a woman chief minister we certainly expect from her some decency that goes well with the culture and tradition of Bengal, and with the values of a Bengali woman.”

“However, here we can see a saree-clad woman who is flaunting her leg frequently. Do you consider this as a reflection of the culture of Bengal? I have protested against this (at the meeting),” he said.

According to new reports, Dilip Ghosh further said: “I don’t know where these doctors came who plastered her left leg while the injury was apparently on the right leg. We have not seen any report. Had there been a fracture, then the plaster can’t be taken off in two days..it takes a minimum of 21 days. Where from these doctors passed?”

Condemning the attack, Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra wrote on Twitter, “..And these perverted depraved monkeys think they are going to win Bengal?”

The Trinamool Congress said the BJP president has gone on to defend the insult he meted out to the “daughter of Bengal” and the people will punish the “misogyny”.

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“Be it saree clad women or those wearing ripped jeans, Bengal won’t forgive!” it tweeted.

State minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said that women of Bengal won’t give a single vote to people of such mindset.

Actor-turned-politician Nusrat Jahan said, “Misogyny and the need to control women as per the wishes of men is so deeply embedded in BJP leaders that it’s a matter of national concern now.”

The BJP state president has earlier been in the midst of controversies for his comments, which ranged from claims that the milk of “desi” cows has gold content to demands that Balakot-like surgical strikes be carried out on Jadavpur University to drive out “anti-nationals”.

Also read: When It Comes To Politics in India, Sexism Is the Norm

The chief minister has been campaigning for the elections on a wheelchair with her left leg plastered after she was injured in an incident in Nandigram soon after filing her nomination papers on March 10.

She had alleged that the BJP hatched a conspiracy to prevent her from campaigning by organising the “attack”, a charge rubbished by the opposition party.

Ghosh’s comments come against the backdrop of another BJP leader and Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Rawat, who expressed his objection to women showing off “bare knees” in ripped jeans. He had asked: “Kaynchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors) – showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids – these are the values being given now. Where is this coming from, if not at home?”

The comments led to a backlash on social media with Twitter trending with #RippedJeans as hundreds of women protested against the chief minister’s remarks.

(With inputs from PTI)