KOLKATA -- Facing widespread flak from the civil society and police complaint for his distasteful comments about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, senior CPI-M leader Gautam Deb issued an apology.
Speaking at a rally organised by the Left students unions on 2 April, Deb had launched a vitriolic attack on Banerjee, calling her names and even raising questions about her personal life.
According to a report in Bengali newspaper, Anandbazar Patrika, the leader used the term 'maal' to describe the chief minister.
While trying to attack her 'clean' image, Deb said, "during hunger strikes, when she would get hungry, she'd run off to eat fish fry and make Partha Chattopadhyay talk. What an item [maal]!"
The CPI-M leader also claimed that Banerjee frequently changes her phone number because 'she has a criminal bent of mind'.
Deb's comments drew sharp reaction from writers, theatre personalities and writers, who said his comments had "shamed everybody" and asked the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to make him withdraw the remarks.
A complaint was lodged at Netaji Nagar police station - under whose jurisdiction 2 April's meeting was held - against Deb, a former state minister. Another complaint was registered at Uttarpara police station in Hooghly district.
Addressing a public meeting during the day, Banerjee responded by saying "One should do one's politics, but should not spread canards."
Majority of the student organisations which had convened 2 April's meeting also disassociated themselves from the remarks. "We don't approve of such indecent attacks," they said in a joint statement.
Coming under pressure from various quarters, Deb issued a statement on the night of 3 April, expressing regret for his remarks.
Deb conceded that what he had said was "akin to a personal attack".
"It was not my objective to launch a personal attack. I am sorry for this."
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