KOLKATA: Union Minister Babul Supriyo who is contesting the West Bengal assembly election from the Tollygunje constituency, has courted controversy by allegedly slapping a man inside a party office in Kolkata.
A video, which went viral Monday, showed the singer-turned BJP leader purportedly slapping the man who had repeatedly asked him to start serious campaigning on the field instead of posing before TV cameras and giving bytes.
Supriyo later claimed that he did not "slap him but only gestured to do so".
The alleged incident took place in a BJP party office at Ranikuthi in the Tollygunge constituency where the Union minister of state for environment, forest & climate change attended a function on the occasion of Doljatra festival on Sunday.
When the man advised him to start serious campaigning, Supriyo initially asked him to keep quiet but he continued to make similar comments, BJP sources said.
At one point of time, the minister was seen slapping him once.
"With people coming from one party to another, there can be some Bibhisons and some Mir Jafars (traitors). Some people are definitely trying to create disturbances. I kept my cool despite his provocations," Supriyo told reporters.
However, he did not elaborate if he considered the youth as someone sent by the Trinamool Congress or a 'Bibhison' or 'Mir Jafar' within the party.
The identity of the youth is not known.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that the party wanted to know whether the man slapped by Supriyo was "an outsider of the Trinamool Congress or a Bibhison (someone of the BJP)".
"Those accepting people from other parties with open arms should not make such comments," he said.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, "Babul might have touched the man at the heat of the moment but he did not intend to hit him or harm him physically."