KOLKATA: West Bengal Assembly Deputy Speaker Sonali Guha was caught on tape threatening the president of the residents’ association of an apartment in Howrah district in the early hours of Thursday.
She was seen saying to the man in his sixties, who is also a homeopathic doctor: “I am a man of the Chief Minister. I am the government. Don’t forget it. This is my last warning.”
The victim has been identified as Nagendra Rai.
The unparliamentary language and behaviour of Guha has courted a controversy, with the Opposition parties demanding her resignation.
Guha went there in her official vehicle with the red beacon, after local ruling TMC leader Vedprakash Tewari complained to her about the suspension of elevator services in the building at night.
In a heated exchange, she reportedly told Rai, “Don’t blabber too much. You have no right to install CCTV in this building. I will tell the Home Secretary tomorrow to remove it. I will lock your flat and none will dare to open it.”
Guha, however, denied having threatened anyone. “I never threatened. I went there as two women were attacked. Like Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, I am also concered about the harrasement against women. I am certainly a man of our Chief Minister and will remain so even when she becomes the Prime Minister,” she told reporters.
“I did say that this is Bengal and ruled by neither the BJP nor the Bajrang Dal. This is not Amit Shah’s state. I am aware of my status since I hold a Constitutional post. I have never embarrassed my party leadership during the last three years we are in power,” Guha added.
According to Rai, Tewari, along with at least 25 TMC workers, started pounding at his door at mid night, demanding elevator services. An argument broke out between them, when Guha suddenly arrived and started threatening Rai, who has lodged a complaint against her with Golabari police.
The Opposition parties condemned the behaviour of Guha, who had in the past used foul language and misbehaved with police officials, and demanded her immediate resignation.
Former Speaker of West Bengal Assembly Hashim Abdul Halim said, “Any member of the House can move a breach of privilege motion demanding her resignation for such behaviour. This is sheer arrogance and indicates total breakdown of the civil society in the state.”
BJP MLA Shamik Bhattacharya said he would raise the issue in the House. “This is not an isolated incident and it reflects the TMC’s culture,” he said.