CPI-M issues public warning to party MP

Kolkata, Feb 23 (IANS) The CPI-M on Thursday issued a “public warninga to its Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee for threatening a party supporter who had raised questions in the social media about the source of funds of the young leader’s expensive watch and pen.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist’s West Bengal state committee issued the warning during its two-day meeting that ended during the day.

“The state committee has criticised the behaviour of its member-cum-MP Ritabrata Banerjee and given him a public warning with regard to a controversy over the social media,” the party said in a statement.

The issue related to a Facebook post by a party worker who pasted a photo of Banerjee watching a East Bengal-Mohun Bagan soccer match in Siliguri on February 12. The worker pointed to the MP’s Mont Blanc pen and Apple smartwatch and questioned how – despite being a party wholetimer – he could afford such expensive gadgets.

As the post became viral, Banerjee took umbrage, and threatened to lodge a police complaint against the worker for making “hate speeches” and maligning him on social media. The MP further mailed the human resource department of the Bengaluru-based start up where the worker was employed and asked them to “look into the matter”.

Banerjee’s e-mail also got leaked on the social media, triggering a wave of protests against his behaviour.

An embarrassed CPI-M central leadership asked the state committee – of which Banerjee is a member – to deal with the issue.

On Wednesday, Banerjee apologised to the party’s state secretariat for shooting off a mail to the party worker’s employer.

Addressing the media after the state committee session on Thursday, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said it was wrong on the part of the MP to send a missive to the employer of the person who lodged a complaint.