Trinamool Congress supporters held demonstrations and blocked roads across Bengal for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
Party workers, who were protesting the arrest of senior Trinamool MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, blocked the national highway connecting Kolkata and Delhi in Burdwan district for about an hour in the morning – causing a massive jam. They also blocked railway tracks in Cooch Behar, halting a number of trains in the process.
However, officials said the tempo of the protests seemed subdued when compared to the scenes witnessed in Kolkata and its adjoining districts on Wednesday.
Women and child development minister Sashi Panja took out a rally at Bagbazar in north Kolkata. “We are protesting the manner in which our leaders in the Lok Sabha were arrested. This was nothing but the Centre striking back against our supreme leader for criticising the demonetisation move. Let the central agency arrest us all,” she told mediapersons.
The state BJP headquarters has been placed under three-tier security cover to prevent clashes between party workers and Trinamool supporters. The two sides had clashed on Tuesday evening, after many Trinamool activists began agitating outside the building.
Soon after Bandyopadhyay’s arrest on Tuesday, the chief minister had announced that agitations would be held in Bengal as well as other parts of the country. The following day, party supporters blocked roads and railway tracks, and took out protest rallies at various places across Bengal.
On Wednesday, three separate delegations of the BJP, Trinamool and Left parties met governor KN Tripathi to lodge protests based on their interpretation of the situation.
Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee has announced that three-day dharnas would be held in front of the Reserve Bank of India office at Kolkata between January 9 and 11 to protest demonetisation. Akhil Giri, a Trinamool MLA from East Midnapore district, has been camping in Bhubaneswar to organise protests against the Centre.
CBI officers had arrested Bandyopadhyay, leader of the Trinamool Congress in the Lok Sabha, for his alleged involvement in the `15,000-crore Rose Valley chit fund scam on Tuesday afternoon. Earlier, Paul was arrested on similar charges.