A convoy of BJP president J.P. Nadda was attacked on Thursday in West Bengal’s Diamond Harbour area, triggering a major political row in the poll-bound State.
Videos of the incident that surfaced on social media and circulated by the BJP showed Trinamool Congress supporters holding flags on both sides of the road when stones and bottles were hurled at the passing vehicles, shattering the windows. Several vehicles of the convoy suffered damage, leaving many people injured, including party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Amit Shah’s charge
The entire BJP leadership condemned the attack and the party held demonstrations at several places across West Bengal. Condemning the attack, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the State had gone into an era of “tyranny, anarchy and darkness under the Trinamool rule”.
“The manner in which political violence has been institutionalized and brought to the extreme within West Bengal under TMC rule is sad and worrying for all those who believe in democratic values,” Mr. Shah said, adding that Centre was taking the issue seriously and the State government will have to answer the people of the State on the issue.
Speaking at the event in Diamond Harbour, which he reached with considerable difficulty, Mr. Nadda said what he witnessed today made it evident that the government of Mamata Banerjee had become synonymous with a “state of lawlessness and intolerance”. “Not a single vehicle had been spared. Today I have reached this destination with the grace of Ma Durga. Trinamool activists and goons left no stone unturned to strangle democracy”, he stated.
Later in the day, speaking at a press conference, the BJP chief said law and order and the entire administration had crumbled in the State. The incident was a reflection of frustration of the Chief Minister and the “Trinamool government must go lock, stock, and barrel” in the next elections.
Mr. Vijayvargiya, who suffered injuries in his left hand, called it a “planned and targeted” attack where “stones were hurled from all sides”.
Will not tolerate all lies: Mamata
The Trinamool Congress leadership said that there was provocation on the part of the BJP president, who was visiting Ms. Banerjee’s constituency Bhawanipur, and Abhishek Banerjee’s constituency, Diamond Harbour.
Ms. Banerjee said BJP leaders have protection of different Central agencies, including the CISF and the CRPF, insinuating that the attacks may have been the result of “planning” by the BJP itself. “I have told the police to make a total enquiry because I will not tolerate all the lies. Enough is enough”. She alleged that every time she went to Delhi, BJP people “gherao” the place where she is put up. “Remember if you want to be respected then you have to extend respect to others. I know how to give that respect,” she said.
‘Nadda fell into a ditch’
Mr. Abhishek Banerjee said he cannot be blamed for the sentiments and anger of the common people. “Today Nadda went to Diamond Harbour and fell into a ‘gadda’ [ditch]. So, what can I do?”.
West Bengal Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar summoned the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to apprise him of the law and order situation in the context of the attack on Mr. Nadda’s convoy.
“CS @MamataOfficial & DGP @WBPolice called on me today at 6 PM. Unfortunately, neither came with any update on pending issues or regarding attack on convoy of BJP President JP Nadda. Their continued non responsive stance signals failure of constitutional machinery in the State,” the Governor said on social media.