Tit-for-tat moves in Bengal politics, came thick and fast on Wednesday after BJP women’s wing leader Juhi Chowdhury’s arrest on Tuesday night with BJP leaders moving court against Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O Brien for morphing a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and showing it in a press conference before the Bengal assembly elections last year.
On Tuesday, a member of the BJP’s West Bengal ex servicemen’s cell sent a legal notice of chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking apology for her derogatory comments against the army last year.
The political waters of Bengal turned murky on Tuesday with prime accused in the child trafficking case, Chandana Chakravarty, alleging to the media that Juhi Chowdhury spoke to BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly to lobby for the Bimala Sishu Griho, the welfare home in the eye of the storm.
“Our party leader has filed a case in Bankshall court against Trinamool Congress Rajya MP for morphing a picture of the Prime minister and union home minister Rajnath Singh. Earlier we lodged a complaint with Kolkata police but they have failed to act so far. We are compelled to move court. Our ex servicemen cell has already sent a legal notice to chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday for her alleged derogatory comments against army personnel ,” Dilip Ghosh BJP state president, told HT.
On Tuesday night, a state secretary of BJP women’s wing, Juhi Chowdhury created embarrassment for the party when CID arrested her from a spot near the Indo-Nepal border. She was wanted in the child trafficking racket unearthed last month in the north Bengal district of Jalpaiguri.
Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee refused comment on the arrest saying the law will take its own course.
On April 23 last year, O’Brien addressed a press conference in which he showed four photographs, including one that showed union home minister Rajnath Singh offering a laddoo to former CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.
It prompted Karat to lodge a police complaint in Delhi, whereas BJP lodged a complaint with Kolkata police.
On Wednesday, Jay Prakash Majumder filed a petition with the chief metropolitan magistrate, Bankshal court against O Brien.
“The police is not taking any action even after so many months. No FIR has been lodged, neither has the accused been called for interrogation. In May we again went to Kolkata police headquarters but nothing happened. Therefore, I have gone to court. If nothing happens, we will approach Calcutta high court,” said Jay Prakash Majumder, state BJP vice president.
On Tuesday, N Mohan Rao convener of BJP’s ex-servicemen cell in Bengal sent a legal notice to the chief minister for her comments against Indian army jawans. On December 2 last year, Mamata Banerjee stayed overnight at the state secretariat and protested against army deployment a few toll plazas in Bengal.
She also alleged that army men were extorting money from the vehicles that were passing through those points. Army officers retorted by saying it was a routine annual exercise and also produced letters to contend that they informed the police about the move.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, as a damage control measure, BJP leaders removed Juhi Chowdhury from her position as a state secretary of Mahila Morcha and her Rabindranath Chowdhury from the state committee for an indefinite period.
“Our stand is clear. We have removed Juhi Chowdhury and her father from all party positions. We do not support leaders in the state taking someone to Delhi. We will wait for the investigation and court will decide,” said Dilip Ghosh BJP state president.
“However, we fear that this may be another political controversy. Under pressure from the ruling party, police is registering FIRs against BJP leaders such as Babul Supriyo, Kailash Vijayvargiya and myself,” added Ghosh.
Incidentally, on Wednesday he secured bail for a FIR lodged in his name at Jhargram police station.
Roopa Ganguly, BJP Rajya Sabha MP, however, labeled Juhi Chowdhury’s arrest as a political conspiracy. “One of the accused is allowed to give long statements before the TV camera. This is a political conspiracy,” said Ganguly referring to the statement of Chandana Chakravarty.
The entire controversy comes against the bigger backdrop of worsening relations between Trinamool Congress and BJP. Mamata Banerjee has alleged that TMC MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul was arrested by CBI purely as an act of political vendetta in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
In the next few days, complaints poured in from different areas in the state and police registered FIRs against BJP leaders and MPs including Babul Supriyo, Dilip Ghosh and Kailash Vijayvargiya.