The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday, 6 December, slammed Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh after he made alleged "misogynistic" comments against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
What did Singh say? In a video that has gone viral on social media, Singh commented on Banerjee dancing at the Kolkata International Film Festival. "Jashn mana rahi hai, thumke laga rahi hai, yeh uchit nahi hai. (She is celebrating and dancing, this is inappropriate)," he purportedly said.
When told that Banerjee was dancing as part of the celebrations during the film festival, Singh argued, "Toh festival mai thumke lagana kaun zaroori hai? (Is it required to dance at the festival?)"
Banerjee was seen dancing with Bollywood actor Salman Khan at the 29th edition of KIFF. The event featured several other stars like Sonakshi Sinha, Mahesh Bhatt, Anil Kapoor, and Shatrughan Sinha.
'Misogynistic, Inappropriate': TMC Slams Minister
Taking to X, the TMC slammed Singh, calling his comments and gestures "inappropriate".
"It's evident that the BJP leaders find it incredibly hard to fathom a woman in power challenging their authority. Their archaic mindset, steeped in gender biases, is blatantly on display," they said.
Later, Singh said that his comments had been misinterpreted, and claimed that the TMC were trying to "create confusion" over the issue.
"I have said that Mamata didi, the state that is suffering from corruption and where the rights of the poor are being snatched, you're making 'Jashn' there. Is saying 'Jashn' similar to 'thumka'?" he told news agency ANI.
"The people of TMC are trying to raise this issue to create confusion in people. This is my right to say that there's poverty, unemployment and corruption and the CM was present in the Film festival," the BJP leader added.
In response, the TMC responded with all guns blazing, claiming that the Union Minister was trying to "backtrack" on his comments amid the criticism.
"@girirajsinghbjp's attempts to backpedal on his derogatory remarks against Smt. @MamataOfficial are not just feeble but outright dishonest. This video evidence shows him to not just be uttering the words 'thumka' twice but also making gestures that leave no room for misinterpretation," the party said.
"His denial is another textbook example of @BJP4India's strategy to engage in shameful conduct and then brazenly defend it, regardless of overwhelming evidence," it added.
Several TMC leaders had also publicly dismissed Singh's remarks, calling them "shameful".
"Mr Singh, can I just tell you, the reason we 'manao jashn' in Bengal is because we don't have to put up with the likes of you with the misogyny and patriarchy that is practised by you and the BJP every single day," TMC MP Mahua Moitra said in a video message on social media.
TMC spokesperson Sushmita Dev said that Singh's comments were a reflection of the BJP's "shameful and misogynistic mindset".
"They (the BJP) simply cannot swallow the fact that they repeatedly lose to her popularity. The BJP repeatedly loses to her good governance. And that is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers cannot accept," she said.
She further added that KIFF is the "pride" of Bengal. "To pass a comment and to mimic her (Mamata Banerjee) the way he has only shows the shameful and misogynistic mindset that the BJP has."