Derogatory remarks about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made by senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA and a former Minister of the Left Front government Anisur Rehman stirred a major controversy here on Thursday.

Mr. Rehman eventually tendered an unconditional apology to Ms. Banerjee and the people of the State in a statement to the media.

The State’s Parliamentary Affairs Minster and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee told journalists that he had sent a notice for a privilege motion to Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay over the remarks. The party’s leadership also said that it was exploring the option of filing a defamation suit against Mr. Rehman.

Mr. Rehman’s comments were made at a public rally at Itahar in Uttar Dinajpur district on December 25. While raising the issue of the rising incidents of rape across West Bengal and the State government’s scheme for compensating the victims, he made a personal remark against Ms. Banerjee.

“While commenting on the compensation to rape victims, I mistakenly uttered some words which I should not have said and which are against norms of courtesy. However, I did not have any malicious intent or desire to insult a person,” Mr. Rehman said in his apology. He said that in his 21 years as a member of the Assembly, such an incident had not occurred and he would ensure that there would be no recurrence. His remarks were condemned by senior leaders of the CPI(M). State Secretary of CPI(M) Biman Bose said in a written statement that Mr. Rehman’s remarks went against the party’s grain.