A string of low intensity, scattered violence has already started between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters in the city in the run-up to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections. The BJP has alleged that the police are refusing to act in all the incidents.
The complaints range from ransacking party meetings, assault on workers to supporters being driven out of their homes.
Over the past few weeks, BJP leaders claimed there have been more than a dozen incidents of violence including arson and assault in the city. In Beliaghata near Silver Spring about dozen supporters have fled their homes and have not been able to return. At other areas such as Park Circus, EM Bypass, Entally, Belgachia, Cossipur and Paikpara Trinamool Congress backed goons allegedly ransacked stage and beat up workers.
In E M Bypass near Beleghata over 20 people fled their homes after a series of clashes broke out with Trinamool Congress workers in the area since January 1. “Our only mistake was we joined BJP after Lok Sabha polls and recently took out a rally in Beleghata. Trinamool goons attacked us and beat us up on January 1. We fled from the area. On January 5, with the help of police we got back home, only to be attacked again. Now we can’t go back home, despite our leaders urging us,” said 31-year-old Narugopal Haldar. A few of the workers were seriously injured.
“Forget districts, Trinamool Congress is so scared of BJP that they have started unleashing terror even in the heart of the city. Some of them had to be taken to hospital, some had to even leave their neighbourhood. The police have remained mere spectators despite our repeated complaints,” claimed Rahul Sinha, state BJP president.
“They are doing this keeping in mind the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls. They are primarily targeting the youths under our banner,” said Gautam Malakar, North East Kolkata district president of Bhartiya Janata Yuba Morcha, the youth wing of BJP.
On January 20, at a public rally in Burdwan, BJP president Amit Shah vowed to counter “sangharsh” with “sangharsh” in Bengal. Political leaders have pointed out, though sangharsh literally translates to “struggle”, in the context of Bengal it means nothing but force, and possibly violence. “We have asked our state and central leadership to submit a detailed report of such incidents of attacks. We are preparing a list of the accused and police officials who are neglecting the cases, which will be forwarded to our state president,” said Krishanu Mitra, BJP Yuba Morcha state secretariat member.
BJP leaders apprehend that such incidents will become more frequent as the stakes in the KMC polls are extremely high with the winner sure to get a morale booster before the all-important assembly polls next year.
On January 14, BJP submitted deputations to three divisional deputy commissioners of East suburban division, Kolkata East division and North and North suburban division.