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Protesters burn TMC leader’s effigy over remarks against Prez Murmu; BJP demands his removal from Bengali cabinet

Protests in Odisha continued to mount against Trinamool Congress leader Akhil Giri’s comments to President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday. BJP led the protests in Bhubaneswar and Nayagada against the TMC leader and demanded his arrest. “Akhil Giri’s comments are dishonorable to all the women of the country. Mamata Banerjee should fire him immediately,” BJP leader Mahila Morcha said during protests in Bhubanewar. Giri’s effigy was also burned down during the protests in Odogaon in Nayagada district.

BJP spokesman Sambit Patra also condemned Giri’s comments to the president, saying they deeply hurt the people of Odisha. “Giri’s comments have offended the entire women’s community. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee must immediately fire Akhil Giri,” he said.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “The derogatory remarks of West Bengal Minister Akhil Giri against the President of India are unfortunate. However strongly we condemn it, it will not be enough. If Mamata Banerjee has morals and believes in democracy, she must immediately take strong action and fire Akhil Giri from the cabinet.”

Patra also said the TMC minister’s comment is an embarrassment to all the women of the country and the tribal community. Apart from an appeal to fire Giri, Patra also demanded Mamata Banerjee’s apology in the case.

BJD, Congress Condemn Akhil Giri’s Comments

Besides BJP, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Congress strongly condemned the minister’s comments. In a tweet, BJD leader Ranendra Pratap said TMC MPs should refrain from making such comments about the country’s first citizen. BJD MP Munna Khao also condemned Akhil Giri’s comments. Senior Congress Leader Suresh Routray said, “Such comments will never be tolerated against the sister of our state.” Routray warned that Akhil Giri will never be allowed to come to Odisha.

“No one has the right to make a derogatory remark against the President of India. It’s not acceptable. Minister Akhil Giri’s comment is unfortunate. He should be punished. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should fire him from the Ministry,” said BJD leader Muna Khan

Including Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, several cases were filed in the various police stations in Odisha on behalf of various tribal organizations.

What did Akhil giri say?

In a 17-second video clip, TMC leader Akhil Giri could be heard commenting on the “president’s looks”. “They (BJP) said I didn’t look well. We don’t judge anyone by their appearance. We respect the office of the President (of India). But what does our president look like?” Giri, the state minister for Correctional Homes, was said late Friday night at a meeting in a village in Nandigram.

Later, during a conversation with reporters this morning, Giri apologized for making such a comment. “It was not my intention to disparage the honorable President. I responded to what BJP leaders said while verbally attacking me. My apologies for making such a comment. I have tremendous respect for the president of our country,” he said.

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