Union Minister Babul Supriyo faced backlash for his tweet on West Bengal’s ruling party TMC’s campaign slogan ‘Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye‘ (Bengal wants its own daughter), referring to people of the state wanting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as their leader.
Supriyo took a dig at the slogan and posted a meme, with Banerjee’s photo above and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s photo below, stating “beti paraya dhan hoti hai, is bar viday kar dengey (a daughter is someone else’s wealth. We will bid her farewell)”.
TMC supporters severely criticised Supriyo for the misogynistic tweet. West Bengal Minister of Women and Child Development Dr Shashi Panja said that “Bengal will take misogynistic forces head on.”
“Bengal is known for celebrating their daughters and the state has proven yet again that it won’t take any disrespect to her daughter and that it will take misogynistic forces head on,” Panja said.
“Babul Supriyo ji, I am extremely worried about the state of women’s affairs in this country if public representatives like you endorse such chauvinist views. Stunned and shocked to see how deep and wide sexism runs in BJP leaders,” she later tweeted.
Following the backlash, Supriyo deleted the tweet.
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Supriyo had mentioned in his tweet that the meme was originally posted by BJP’s Asansol district unit and he did not create it. Even as he deleted the post following the backlash, Supriyo said he won’t take a lesson on misogyny from any political party — be it the TMC, the Left or Congress. “I have two daughters,” he added.
“I have earned enough goodwill for myself to have people to ignore this as a meme that, I acknowledge, should not have been shared from my A/C.. That’s it !! Period.. Nothing more – Nothing less either,” he wrote.
This is not the first time Supriyo has been accused of misogyny. TMC MP Mahua Moitra had filed a chargesheet against Supriyo for his remarks against her during a television debate in 2017. Moitra had accused Supriyo of “outraging her modesty”, saying that he linked her name to a local alcohol named “Mahua”. The Calcutta High Court quashed the charges, last year, noting that the chargesheet filed by the Kolkata Police did not disclose that Supriyo had committed an offence under Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
The judge, however, said Supriyo’s remarks were insulting and defamatory. “It is expected from a representative of the people that he must be courteous in his behavior, dignified in his manners and cautious on his words spoken by him,” the judge said, adding: “By making such defamatory statement to a woman, the petitioner prima facie not only humiliated dignity and honour of a woman, but also violated his constitutional oath.”
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The other incident in which Supriyo was criticised for his misogyny was in 2019, when he had gone to Kolkata’s Jadavpur University to address a seminar organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) but was heckled, shown black flags and allegedly assaulted. Left-affiliated students, who were at the protest, alleged that the BJP leader had made sexist remarks towards them and provoked violence.