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Row over Tapas Paul : Mamata asks media why it didn’t raise issue earlier

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Kolkata, July 1 :

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday described her party Lok Sabha member Tapas Paul’s rape remarks as a “big blunder”, but blamed the media for its failure to highlight the issue which was a month old.

The Trinamool Congress supremo had earlier in the day refused to comment on Paul, saying the party’s national general secretary Mukul Roy had already spoken on the issue.Mamata Banerjee

“That’s a different issue. You ask Mukul Roy. He has already made a statement,” Banerjee told journalists during her visit to Raidighi in South 24 Parganas district.

Later, in Diamond Harbour in the same district, Banerjee asked media persons: “As regards criminal action, why didn’t you raise the issue one month earlier when he (Paul) made the comments? Shall I now rake up old issues when CPI-M leader Sushanta Ghosh and Anil Basu made derogatory remarks against me?”

Prodded by media persons about criminal action, Banerjee lost her cool and dubbed the news channels which telecast Paul’s video as “CPI-M and BJP’s touts”.

“What do you think, should I kill him? I have to work in a system. You guys have always spoken against us but never against CPI-M or BJP. I am sorry, you guys are CPI-M and BJP’s touts,” said a visibly angry Banerjee.

With Paul tendering an unconditional apology Tuesday, Banerjee asserted that her party has taken requisite action in the matter.

“I condemn his remarks, we have cautioned him, sought an explanation and he has apologised. As soon as the remarks came into public domain, we said we don’t endorse the views. He committed a big blunder and has issued an unconditional apology. Which other party have you seen taking action?” she asked.

Banerjee said Paul’s remarks were made in an individual capacity and her party doesn’t endorse them in any way.

“I think film and politics are two different worlds. He should not have made the comments. We have condemned and censured him,” she added.

Earlier, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee and national general secretary Mukul Roy claimed that Banerjee was pained by Paul’s comments.

“Trinamool chairperson (Banerjee) is pained after hearing Paul’s comments. A decision regarding the matter will be taken tomorrow (Wednesday),” Roy said.

“We do not endorse his (Paul’s) remarks in any manner… rather we condemn it. Our chairperson is extremely pained by the remarks. We have already sought an explanation from him,” Chatterjee told media persons in the state assembly.

In a video that became public Monday, actor-turned-politician Paul, who represents Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency, was seen warning Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) men to be aware of him as he won’t spare them and destroy their entire clan and unleash his ‘boys’ to rape their women.

Telecast by several Bengali news channels, the video is said to be over a month old in which Paul addressed party workers in Choumaha village in Nadia district.

(IANS)