BJP Leader Accused of Paying Women to Protest Against TMC Rival in West Bengal

A video allegedly shows a BJP leader admitting to paying 70 women to protest against a TMC leader in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal. The authenticity of the video is disputed, with the BJP calling it fake and the TMC claiming it reveals the truth behind the protests.

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BJP Leader Accused of Paying Women to Protest Against TMC Rival in West Bengal

BJP Leader Accused of Paying Women to Protest Against TMC Rival in West Bengal

A new controversy has erupted in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal, as a purported video surfaced allegedly showing local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gangadhar Kayal admitting to paying 70 women ₹2,000 each to protest against Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his aides, who are facing sexual assault and land-grabbing charges.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the depths of political manipulation and exploitation of vulnerable groups, such as women, in the pursuit of power. It also raises concerns about the integrity of political protests and the potential for false narratives to influence public opinion.

In the 45-minute video, Kayal, the president of Sandeshkhali mandal, is heard saying: "We will need ₹2.5 lakh in cash for 50 booths where 30% of protesters would be women. We have to keep the SC, ST, and OBC people here in an agreeable mood by paying them satisfactorily. In any situation, women will form the front row confronting the police." The BJP has dubbed the video as fake, while the TMC claims it reveals the truth behind the BJP's narrative in Sandeshkhali.

This is not the first controversy surrounding Kayal. In another video that surfaced last week, he alleged that the rape allegations against TMC men were "staged" and that the protests were lodged at the behest of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari. The authenticity of both videos remains disputed.

The riverine Sandeshkhali area, situated on the borders of the Sundarbans about 100 kilometers from Kolkata, has been on the boil since February with protests over allegations of sexual abuse and land grab against now-arrested TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his supporters. One of the three Sandeshkhali women who had filed rape charges against TMC men withdrew her complaint on Wednesday, claiming she was forced by the BJP to sign blank papers and file a false case. She lodged a fresh complaint at Sandeshkhali police station, citing threats and social ostracism.

Bengal's Minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Shashi Panja, claimed that women who have withdrawn their false rape allegations are being threatened by local BJP leaders. TMC MP Sagarika Ghosh stated that it was "disgusting that the BJP is threatening the women of Sandeshkhali." The TMC has also moved the Election Commission against National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma, accusing her of misusing her official position by allegedly telling some of the women in Sandeshkhali to lodge rape complaints against TMC leaders.

As the controversy surrounding the violence in Sandeshkhali continues to unfold, with allegations of staged protests and threats against women, the truth remains elusive. The authenticity of the purported videos is yet to be independently verified, leaving room for further investigations and political mudslinging in the run-up to the panchayat elections in West Bengal.

Key Takeaways

  • BJP leader Gangadhar Kayal allegedly paid 70 women ₹2,000 each to protest against TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh.
  • The video's authenticity is disputed, with BJP calling it fake and TMC claiming it reveals the truth.
  • The controversy surrounds protests in Sandeshkhali, West Bengal, over sexual assault and land-grabbing charges.
  • One of the rape complainants withdrew her case, claiming she was forced by BJP to file a false case.
  • The truth remains elusive, with allegations of staged protests and threats against women.