Clashes mark the last day of Bhabanipur campaign

  • The TMC was quick to highlight images of the pistols being waved around by the bodyguards as another instance of the BJP trying to provoke people into creating an incident.
BJP National vice president Dilip Ghosh during an election campaign in favour of BJP candidate for Bhabanipur Priyanka Tibrewal as TMC and BJP supporters clash with each other, in Kolkata. (ANI Photo)(Saikat Paul)
BJP National vice president Dilip Ghosh during an election campaign in favour of BJP candidate for Bhabanipur Priyanka Tibrewal as TMC and BJP supporters clash with each other, in Kolkata. (ANI Photo)(Saikat Paul)
Published on Sep 28, 2021 04:14 AM IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought that the by-election in Bhabanipur assembly constituency, scheduled for September 30, be held after imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and under the supervision of central forces -- a move prompted by an incident that saw one of its leaders being surrounded and heckled by a crowd of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters, forcing his bodyguards to brandish pistols. The section restricts movement and assemblies as well as the carriage of anything that can be used as a weapon.

The TMC was quick to highlight images of the pistols being waved around by the bodyguards as another instance of the BJP trying to provoke people into creating an incident.

The two parties fought a bitter battle in the assembly polls earlier this year that the TMC won easily, although its leader and chief minister Mamata Banerjee lost. She is now contesting the Bhabanipur by-election, which saw the last leg of campaigning on Monday.

On Monday, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh was among the 80 leaders from the party who hit the streets to campaign for the party’s candidate, Priyanka Tibrewal , but at Jadu Babu Bazar, he ran into a crowd that obstructed his path and shouted “go back”. He shouted “Jai Shri Ram” in return. But as the crowd swelled, people started pushing and jostling each other and Ghosh’s guards had to draw their weapons to keep an angry crowd at bay and escort him to safety.

While the BJP alleged that two its workers were assaulted by the crowd, the ruling party countered by saying one of their men landed in hospital after being hit by Ghosh’s guards. BJP state vice-president Arjun Singh, who was campaigning at Sambhunath Pandit Street, faced similar demonstrations when he approached the location where Ghosh was surrounded and had to leave the spot.

The EC sought a report on the incident. The returning officer was also asked to examine video footages, an official said on condition of anonymity. There was no further update from EC till the time of going to press,

About an hour after Ghosh talked of deferring the poll, the BJP moved EC, accusing the Kolkata Police of not taking any action. In its official letter to EC, the BJP demanded that deputy commissioner of police (south) Akash Magharia be removed from election duty and TMC legislator Madan Mitra, who lives in Bhabanipur, asked to leave the area. The letter, addressed to the chief electoral officer of West Bengal, Aariz Aftab, did not demand postponement of the election. However, BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta, who signed the letter along with two other leaders, said the election in Bhabanipur can be held only after imposing prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144.

TMC leaders alleged that the BJP leaders came to Bhabanipur to create trouble on the last day of campaigning. “I saw on television that Dilip Ghosh was laughing and shouting the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan. The protests were held by local people and not TMC workers. We want to know what prompted Ghosh’s security personnel to point their guns at people. This is the disruptive politics BJP is known for,” said TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy.

Adhikari moves HC, seeks Roy’s disqualification

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Monday moved the Calcutta high court seeking disqualification of the party’s former national vice-president Mukul Roy as a member of the West Bengal legislative assembly. Roy, who joined the BJP in 2017 and returned to the TMC on June 11 this year, has not yet officially resigned from the BJP. Mukul Roy, who is unwell, could not be contacted.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021