Bengal communists sorry for minister’s anti-Marwari remark

February 23rd, 2008 - 7:19 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) The Communists ruling West Bengal have been quick to dissociate themselves from Land and Land Reforms Minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah’s reported remarks against the Marwari community while the minister himself apologised Friday. While Mollah had reportedly dubbed the city’s prosperous Marwari community from Rajasthan as ones who could get done their work by paying bribes, the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) said the party had not made the comment.

A press release by Left Front chairman and CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose said: “Our party harbours no ill will against a community on the basis of its language or religion. We have never said anything to hurt them.

“We will talk to the minister in this regard. We are sorry if the minister’s reported comments have hurt sentiments.”

Mollah’s speech - made at a function Wednesday, the eve of International Mother Tongue Day - that Marwaris use money to get their work done, was contested by Marwaris and drew flak from Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee went into fire-fighting mode soon and issued a statement to clarify the party’s stand.

The CPI-M has many patrons and members among the Marwaris and the party is close to several Marwari industrialists.

The matter was raised at Friday’s meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat - attended by Bhattacharjee, Jyoti Basu and Bose among others - leading to the formal statement.

At the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings, Trinamool Congress legislator Dinesh Bajaj, a Marwari, met the chief minister to protest Mollah’s comments.

Bhattacharjee expressed his regret while Mollah himself later said: “If any community has been hurt by my comment, I am sorry.”

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