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"Arrogance at its peak in TMC": Dharmendra Pradhan hits out after Kalyan Banerjee dares Centre to arrest him over mimicry row

Angul (Odisha): In a scathing attack on suspended TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee over the viral video purportedly showing him doing an impression of Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar during the recent Winter Session of Parliament, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday saying 'arrogance' was at its peak in the ruling party in West Bengal.

Even as the Union minister hit out at the TMC MP, a defiant Banerjee stoked a fresh row on Monday, saying that he would continue to mimic Dhankhar as he considered it an 'art form'.

Speaking at an event in West Bengal, the TMC leader even dared the Centre to put him in jail over the mimicry of the Rajya Sabha chairman.

Responding to the MP's defiant stance, Pradhan said, "No one is jailed for being uncultured. Backed by Mamata Banerjee, arrogance appears to be at its peak in the TMC. If they mock a constitutional post, a farmer's son, someone who comes from a backward caste, they might not be thrown in jail but will never be forgiven by the people. It seems this 'ghamandiya' alliance (INDIA) can't accept the popularity of the government under the leadership of PM (Narendra) Modi."

The TMC is a partner in the Opposition bloc -- INDIA.

Earlier, during a protest over the bulk suspension of Opposition MPs on the steps of the new Parliament complex during the recent Winter Session, the TMC Lok Sabha MP came up with what appeared to be a crude impression of the Vice President.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was pictured videographing the act on his phone even as fellow Opposition members laughed and clapped.

Meanwhile, on Monday, BJP MP Dilip Ghosh also came down heavily on the suspended TMC MP over his defiant position in the matter, saying, "He is a senior lawyer, leader and an MP. He should have a better understanding and grasp of Parliamentary etiquette. I suggest that he entertain (West Bengal CM) Mamata Banerjee, (Congress MP) Rahul Gandhi and (TMC MP) Abhishek Banerjee by doing their impressions. I am sure he'll derive more fun out of it."

Meanwhile, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday invoked the mimicry row, saying he is a 'sufferer' who isn't spared despite being the chairman of the Rajya Sabha and holding one of the highest public offices of the country.

"I am a sufferer. A sufferer knows how to withstand from the inside, and take all upfront insults in one direction. We are in the service of our Bharat Mata (mother India). You will have to show integrity. You will have to exhibit high ethical standards. There will be pressures and counter pressures," Dhankhar said.

In the line of fire from the Treasury and the Centre, Banerjee, earlier, issued a clarification saying he did not intend to hurt anyone.

Addressing reporters, Banerjee said, "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?"

He added that he respects the Vice President as they both belong to the same profession -- law.

"I respect Dhankhar Sahib a lot. He's a senior advocate, I'm too. I've great respect for Dhankhar-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 said. (ANI)

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