The UP poll ground is battle-ready. The violent face-off between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress activists at several places in the State including Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi goes to show that the Centre-State spar has gone beyond words and spilled on to the streets. With the Congress desparate to regain its support base in the State and the SP trying to retain every inch of the political space, the journey to the next assembly poll is unlikely to be peaceful.
The Thursday clashes only goes to show simmering tension between the cadres of the SP and the Congress.
In Kanpur, over a dozen persons received injuries following violent clashes between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP) workers in and outside Collectorate compound here today. Rampaging mob from both the sides also fired in the air, leading to panic in the area. About a dozen vehicles were also damaged including a black Scorpio of the SP district president Naseeruddin.
The situation took to an ugly turn when lawyers too joined hands with Congmen, more out of self-defense than anything else, in targeting stone-pelting Samajwadi Party workers on the court campus. Trouble began when few bricks landed in the chambers of lawyers. Joining hands, the lawyers, along with Congressmen retaliated by pelting stones at the SP workers. Lawyers support to Congress workers, outnumbered the SP workers, who tried to beat a hasty retreat. However, the SP district president Naseeruddin and party leaders Neeraj Chaturvedi and Virendra Dubey got trapped in exchange of bricks. With no escape route and the option left, the SP leaders and workers fired several rounds in air to save themselves from the mob.
In Allahabad too, Congressmen and Samajwadi Party leaders came face to face, shouted slogans against each other’s governments and highlighted their failures, at the collectorate here this afternoon. Meanwhile, cops resorted to selective lathicharge, targeting Congressmen only, which left several of them injured. A Congress leader also fainted during the melee. Congress leader Abhay Awasthi said that the administration resorted to lathi charge at the peaceful demonstrators at the behest of the State government.
In Varanasi, a day after the incident of ransacking government properties and torching the hoardings of ruling Samajwadi Party by the Congress workers during their ‘jail bharo andolan’ on Wednesday, the Samajwadi Party (SP) activists did a tit for tat. SP activists went on the rampage, damaging banners and hoardings of Congress Party in the city on Thursday.