How does Dilip Ghosh get away with so much misogyny?

Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) West Bengal state president Dilip Ghosh may be on thin political ice once again. Last week, just a day before he was to visit Alipurduar district, eleven BJP panchayat members joined the rival Trinamool Congress camp, reported India Today. The BJP’s main man in the district, Ganga Prasad Sharma who had led to a five-seat win in the panchayat elections, also quit and  joined the TMC. Ganga Prasad Sharma then told the media that the BJP’s end in the state had begun and reportedly added that “all those who wish to come to TMC to participate in Didi’s [Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee] development are welcome.”

Things are certainly not hunky dory for Ghosh in the state where he would like to be seen as the leader. According to a report in The Telegraph, the BJP’s national leadership has now allowed that the photo of leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, who came to the saffron fold from the TMC, will now be used on party posters alongside that of Dilip Ghosh. This is an obvious and public endorsement of Adhikari as a party leader. The Ghosh camp loyalists say news reports are not happy about the ‘elevation’ of a ‘new comer’ to the party, over the ‘old-timer’. 

How to stay in the spotlight Ghosh style?

Ghosh knows how to stay in the news. While he has little to offer by way of political discourse, he knows that making openly communal and sexist statements will get him media coverage and that in turn will be noticed by the party leadership at the centre. It is crucial for him to stay in the news after the massive loss that the party faced in the Bengal polls. Ironically, those posters had Ghosh’s pictures on them along with the party bigwigs. He now makes news more when he spews vile sexist remarks rather than on any policy matters.

The most recent has been his attack on the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) Member of Parliament Nusrat Jahan who has communally trolled after she announced the end of her relationship with partner Nikhil Jain. She had issued a public statement that she need not file for a divorce in India, as the marriage had not been registered under the Special Marriage Act. She has since been on the receiving end of communal attacks for applying sindoor, now accused of ‘fooling Hindu voters’ from trolls, and even right wing aligned ‘influencers’ on social media

However it has been Dilip Ghosh’s statement that needs to be called out for multiple reasons. According to multiple media reports Dilip Ghosh who is a Member of Parliament from Medinipur, took personal jibes at fellow Parliamentarian TMC MP Nusrat Jahan. He reportedly said, “Nusrat Jahan is a woman MP. She has shamed the Indian culture by applying sindoor, addressing a man as her husband and inviting the CM to her ‘boubhat’ (reception) and now she says she is not married,” media reports quoted Dilip Ghosh. He then added tha as saying. He also reportedly said the “TMC should suspend Nusrat Jahan” or she should “resign” herself.

Ghosh seems to have been keeping a close track on the personal life of Nusrat Jahan for some reason. Before his comments on her applying sindoor, he had reportedly called her a fraud. According to a report in India Today he had said, “What a fraud. A person who was given a ticket by TMC, took oath, now says she was not even married. However, she wore sindoor, dragged a rath, conducted pujas, and won the election.” That was all in June.

Remember Dilip ‘Bermuda’ Ghosh from May?

In May this year Dilip Ghosh made the headlines when reported a video grab of him suggesting though not naming anyone, that West Bengal Chief Minister should wear ‘bermuda shorts’ to show “her injured leg”. This had enraged many in the then poll-bound state as word spread that Ghosh had reportedly used words to suggest that the CM had been showing her injured leg. He was purportedly heard saying, “….She is wearing saree with one leg covered but kept another kept open for viewing. Haven’t seen anyone draping a saree in such a way. If she has to display her leg for viewing, she can very well wear bermuda shorts. That will help to have a better view.” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee drew flak, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh justified his comment and said that a woman in a saree flaunting her leg is not a reflection of the Bengali culture.

Ghosh then went on to justify his “bermuda” comment and told the media, “Being a woman chief minister we certainly expect from her some decency that goes well with the culture and tradition of Bengal, and with the values of a Bengali woman.” He reportedly added, “Here we can see a saree-clad woman who is flaunting her leg frequently. Do you consider this as a reflection of the culture of Bengal?” 

Election Commission had barred him for hate speech

In April, the Election Commission (EC) had barred the Bengal BJP chief from campaigning for 24 hours. Ghosh, a known serial hate offender with a history of making communally charged and misogynistic statements, had reportedly openly threatened a repeat of Sitalkuchi firing and said, “If someone crosses his limits then you have seen what happened in Sitalkuchi. There will be Sitalkuchi in several places.”

What happened in Sitalkuchi?

On April 10, during phase four of the Assembly elections, five people were killed in two separate incidents in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district. While four people were killed when paramilitary forces opened fire at polling booth number 126 in Amtali, another young man was killed at booth number 85 in Panthauli, also in Sitalkuchi. Following the violence, the Election Commission suspended voting in the area, and also banned entry of political leaders for 72 hours in Cooch Behar district that comprises nine Assembly constituencies.

However Ghosh continues to go unnoticed by NCW

Ghosh has so far not been pulled up for his blatantly sexist remarks either by his party, nor it seems by the National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma. In May, she was in Bengal to “probe incidents of violence, including alleged atrocities against women, and met governor Jagdeep Dhankhar,” reported the Times of India. The NCW had taken suo motu cognizance of the incidents and even constituted a fact-finding committee. The team met families of the alleged rape and murder victim in West Midnapore. The commission told the media: “the NCW team was informed by victims that they were physica assaulted, and their homes vandalised and set ablaze by TMC  goons. The women expressed that they are not being provided any protection from the state administration. The victims of violence expressed concern about the safety of their daughters. The NCW team found that the Bengal police were not taking effective steps to provide security.” 

It is not known yet if the commission has taken notice of known political leaders such as Ghosh making sexist remarks and thus far getting away with it. It is after all when they see the big leaders get away, that the goons on the roads feel ‘empowered’ to continue their goondaism.


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