BJP to make Trinamool MLA’s remarks on President a poll tool in Bengal’s tribal pockets

The recent derogatory comments on the looks of President Droupadi Murmu made by Trinamool Congress legislator and West Bengal minister Akhil Giri is all set to be a tool for BJP’s campaign in the tribal pockets of the state in the run-up to the panchayat elections scheduled next year.

Giri, MoS in-charge of Correctional Services Department, had triggered a massive row last week when he said at a rally in Nandigram, “We don’t judge anyone by their appearance… We respect the office of the President. But how does our President look?”

While the dates for the panchayat polls are yet to be announced, the BJP leadership in the state has already started a campaign on these lines in the tribal-dominated Bankura district, carrying the picture of the President, who also hails from a tribal background.

In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had won both the seats in Bankura district.

As part of its latest campaign, the local BJP leaders in the district are going from door-to-door with pictures and posters of the President carrying the slogan “If you love and respect your President, do not vote for Trinamool Congress”.

According to local BJP leader Krishnadas Hansda, the decision to start this campaign was taken at the district-level meeting on Wednesday.

“Accordingly, we identified the pockets where this line of campaigning can be started and also selected leaders and party workers who are fluent in the local language to communicate with the people having tribal backgrounds. We are appealing to the people to be part of our protests against the insult of the Indian President and refrain from casting a single vote to Trinamool in the next elections,” he said.

However, the local Trinamool leadership has termed BJP’s campaign as a cheap publicity stunt.

“The party (Trinamool) has censured Akhil Giri for his comments. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has herself apologised publicly on behalf of Giri. The BJP has probably forgotten that people vote on the basis of development. The people from the tribal communities in the state have witnessed the tremendous development activities undertaken by the state government under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. So all these gimmicks by the BJP will not work,” said Trinamool’s Bankura district secretary, Shibaji Banerjee.

Meanwhile, a state committee leader of the BJP said that the campaign that has started with Bankura will be taken to the other tribal-dominated pockets of the state in the coming days, especially to Purulia and West Midnapore districts.

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