Law and order situation and attack on party supporters become focal point of its rallies

West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan’s comments on the law and order situation in the State and the “goondaism” that was occurring were echoed by the State leadership of the Congress on Thursday, when the party staged protest rallies in the city.

 “The Governor has said that goondaism is happening here. I had thought that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would have apologised after his statement. We cannot tolerate this situation,” said Pradip Bhattacharya, president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee (WBPCC), at one of the rallies.

 The rallies had been billed as a march onto the Secretariat to protest against the Trinamool Congress government’s ‘apathy’ regarding the setting up of an AIIMS-like multi-speciality hospital at Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district, but the issues of the deteriorating law and order situation and attacks on supporters of the Congress became a focal point of the protests.

 Instead of marching onto the Writers’ Buildings, party workers staged protests at three separate spots not far from the Secretariat.

 A group of about 30 supporters, however, gathered outside Writers’ Buildings and staged a spontaneous protest there. They were immediately arrested and whisked away in police vans. There was a large deployment of police personnel in the vicinity of the Secretariat, as well as at the site of the rallies.

 “I am cautioning those responsible that the manner in which this government is functioning is unacceptable… Supporters of the Congress were killed by the Communist Party of India [Marxist] when the Left Front was in power, but could not finish the Congress; neither will they [the Trinamool Congress] be able to undermine the importance of the Congress,” Mr. Bhattacharya added.

 The “strong response” that the day’s agitation had achieved was a sign of “a new era in West Bengal” and proof that the Congress “will remain a potent and growing political force,” Mr. Bhattacharya said.

Mr. Bhattacharya said that he had written to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde requesting that a Central team be sent to West Bengal to assess the law and order situation.

He also criticised the Trinamool Congress government for failing to ensure development in the State.

 “We are being told tall tales about how West Bengal is on the path to development, but in reality there is no development in West Bengal. All development has come to a halt,” he said.

 He announced that the party would take out protest marches against the Mamata regime in all blocks of the State.