As campaigning for the hotly fought and keenly watched West Bengal assembly elections stoops lower by the day, a phrase frequently used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to have caught two men on the wrong foot in Kolkata.
Modi, who has been campaigning vigorously for the BJP seeking to overthrow the Trinamool Congress from power, addresses Banerjee as ‘Didi’, a term (meaning elder sister) she is popularly known as across the political spectrum. However, he adds a certain to it while talking about her and her party at rallies and says “Didi…o…didi” in a particular tone which some TMC leaders have termed as sarcastic and derogatory. The phrase has also been trending on social media for a while.
A local civil organisation has now filed a complaint over the issue and named Modi in it. Based on it, police then registered an FIR against two youths for harassing women by calling them “didi…o…didi” in a tone used by the PM.
According to a report in Ei Samay, the complaint, filed by Bengal Citizen’s Forum at the Amherst Street police station in north Kolkata, said Modi’s frequent usage of the phrase in a certain way in the politically charged state at the moment is having a negative effect on the youth. At a time when women safety has been one of the key issues of the election, the forum sought exemplary punishment against the accused under sections of the Indian Penal Code. Members of the forum also staged a protest outside the police station and burnt effigies of the PM demanding an apology from the latter.
Earlier, TMC MP Mahua Moitra had slammed Modi for the way he was addressing Banerjee at the rallies. “There is something we have in Bengal called ‘rock-er chhele’, which means a street-side fellow who sits on a wall and who basically calls out to every lady walking past, saying ‘Didi…o…didi’. This is the prime minister doing this,” she said.
Banerjee, however, has said she does not care. “He does this every day, I don’t care,” she said.