Anisur Rehman, a CPM MLA kicked up a political blizzard when he made 'obscene' remarks against the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, saying her government was "more interested in offering money to rape victims than in taking steps for their security".
Addressing a meeting of the party's peasants wing Krishak Sabha in North Dinajpur, Rahman even went on to say: "We have told the chief minister in the assembly that the government will pay money to compensate rape victims. What is your fee? If you are raped, what will be your fee?"
"I would like to ask didimoni (Mamata) what her fee will be if someone gets Rs 20,000 after being raped."
"She has said that rape victims will be compensated. She is indirectly encouraging rapists. I ask, ‘What is the price of rape. How much is the CM worth'."
The remark had drawn howls of protest across the country and took his comrades by surprise.
His sexist remarks left the CPI-M leadership red faced, especially in the context of the nationwide outrage following death of the Delhi gang-rape victim.
In the same rally, Rahman let loose another suggestive and indecent barb at Banerjee.
Ridiculing Banerjee for repeatedly harping on funds crunch in the state, Rahman said: "Ami jiggesh korte pari Mamata Banerjeeke, onyo kaaj to dibbi cholchhe. Shah Rukh Khan Didi'r mathae kokhon ektu chumu debe, tar jonyo to tar khoroch korte bandhe na. Amitabh Bachchan asbe, gaye ektu haath diye sohag diye jabe, tar jonyo to bandhe na (May I ask Mamata Banerjee how other things are going on? She doesn't bother about expenses while inviting Shah Rukh Khan who kisses her head and Amitabh Bachchan who touches her adoringly)."
Pulled up by the party bigwigs, Rahman tendered an unconditional apology to the "people of the state including the chief minister" - first by holding a media meet and then while addressing another rally.
"For the last 21 years I have been an MLA in the state. I have never said anything like this before and this will not happen again in future. I apologise before all the people of the state," Rahman said reading out a statement before the media in the evening without taking any questions.
The party has now reportedly barred Rahman from addressing public meetings.
Image: File photo of Mamata Banerjee.