‘Even PM Modi…’: TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee says ‘didn’t intend to hurt anyone’ amid Jagdeep Dhankhar mimicry row

Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee had gone viral on Tuesday as he seemingly mimicked Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar’s mannerisms and physical limitations. The lawmaker however insisted that he had not “intended to hurt anyone” amid growing outrage in the BJP ranks. The incident had taken place during a protest by the suspended Opposition members on the stairs of the Parliament.

“I wasn’t intending to hurt anyone. I do not know why he is taking this on himself. Does he act like this in the Rajya Sabha? I’ve great respect for Dhankar-ji. Firstly, he belongs in the same profession as me and secondly, because he was formerly a governor (of West Bengal). He is our Vice President,” Banerjee told reporters on Wednesday.

The TMC MP appeared to mimic Dhankhar’s gait and made references to ‘having a spine’ in the now-viral clip. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen filming the performance while other lawmakers laughed. 

Banerjee also lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘imitating Opposition leaders’ in earlier years. 

“Even the PM mimicked Opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha between 2014 and 2019. He did it. But everyone took it as harmless humour, not seriously. Now, if they are taking it seriously in my case, I can’t help it…Mimicry is not an offence, they (BJP) are trying to change the main issue which is whether suspension of opposition MPs was right,” he contended. 

Party chief Mamata Banerjee meanwhile played down the issue and said that it was not meant to be disrespectful.

“We respect everyone. It was not disrespectful. It was just politically, casually… You would not even have known it if Rahul ji had not recorded it,” she said.

(With inputs from agencies)a

Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee has sparked controversy after he appeared to mimic Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar’s mannerisms and physical limitations during a protest by suspended Opposition members outside the Parliament. Banerjee has denied any intention to hurt anyone and stated that he has great respect for Dhankhar. He also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for imitating Opposition leaders in the past. TMC party chief Mamata Banerjee downplayed the issue, stating that it was not meant to be disrespectful. The incident has received widespread attention and criticism from the BJP ranks.

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