KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress(TMC)star MP Tapas Pal, who has been in the eye of a storm following his threat to unleash an orgy of violence against the Opposition activists and their family members, on Tuesday issued an unconditional apology for the remarks.
At a hastily convened news conference, TMC national secretary Mukul Roy MP distributed copies of Pal’s letter which said, “I tender an unconditional apology to the people of West Bengal for my speech.”
However, an arrogant Roy evaded questions about what action the party was likely to take against Pal. “He has written to us. He has been cautioned and told that our leader Mamata is in pain and agony. We started a process within 24 hours and let’s see where it ends. It is now an internal matter of our party.”
“This is now in public domain and during the elections the people will finally decide. Does your media house hold a press conference when any action is taken against you?” he asked.
Later in the day Mamata Banerjee described Pal’s speech as a “big blunder”. She said, “The party has taken action. An explanation has been sought from him.He has tendered unconditional apology. It is not only a huge mistake but a big blunder.”
Even though, Pal had at first tried to wriggle out of the situation saying that he had said “raid” instead of “rape”, he was left with no option other than to apologise after it was conveyed to him that TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had been left fuming.
“Our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is shocked and pained at his utterances,” Industry Minister and TMC general secretary Partho Chatterjee told reporters.
Also, the fact that his wife had apologised on his behalf put further pressure on Pal.”I am saying sorry on his behalf and apologise for his comment. There is another part of the story too. He was provoked,” said Nandini Pal.
Pal, who has a daughter, also developed cold feet as the film fraternity too condemned his remarks. Acclaimed filmmaker Aparna Sen said, “I have known Pal for a long time and he was a sweet young man. I am stunned. Does politics change people?”
Similar views were echoed by singer Usha Uthup.”Do people become like this after joining politics? The whole country is today condemning us in Bengal.”
Several other film personalities, dramatists, singers and painters also joined in the condemnation of the disgraced MP.
The TMC MP’s comment also ignited a firestorm of criticism in the state Assembly,with the CPM-led Opposition demanding that the Chief Minister should make a statement in the House. However, Mamata refused to comment on the issue. Later addressing a public meeting, without naming anyone she said,”I do not support terror as it has no place in democracy. I don’t believe in obscenity.”