In a controversial statement, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Sunday for described intellectuals of the state as "cowards and opportunists" and accused them of being only interested in getting benefits from the government. "The entire state is burning. Opposition leaders and workers are being murdered by TMC goons. But the intellectuals of our society are completely silent as they are apprehensive that they might get into the bad books of the TMC if they protest against them," Ghosh said.
"The intellectuals are basically cowards and opportunists who are only interested in getting benefits from the government of the day," the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said while addressing a seminar to commemorate the 66th death anniversary of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
The comments from Ghosh, the newly elected MP from Medinipur constituency of the state, triggered sharp reactions from the Trinamool Congress and a section of the civil society members.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim demanded the Ghosh should immediately apologise for his comments."This reflects the mindset and attitude of the BJP towards intellectuals in Bengal," Hakim said.
"The party, which doesn't have any respect towards Bengal's distinctive culture and history, can only make such comments."Noted poet Subodh Sarkar, too, criticised Ghosh and said it only reflected his mindset.
Time and again, Ghosh has had criticised intellectuals of the state, including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen a few years back. But the BJP central leadership has repeatedly tried to reach out to the intellectuals who are considered to wield considerable influence in shaping public opinion of the state.
(With PTI inputs)