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Mamata, Rajnath in spat over clashes at Amit Shah’s Bengal rally

Mamata Banerjee reportedly told Rajnath Singh to rein in BJP workers after the latter called her following clashes after BJP president Amit Shah’s rally in Contai on Tuesday.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2019 15:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mamata Banerjee,Bengal CM,Rajnath Singh
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee reportedly had a heated exchange with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the clashes after Amit Shah’s rally in Contai in East Midnapore.(HT PHOTO)

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly told Union home minister Rajnath Singh to rein in BJP workers after the latter called her following clashes between the supporters of the two parties immediately after BJP president Amit Shah’s rally in Contai in East Midnapore district on Tuesday.

“HM spoke to West Bengal CM, Ms Mamata Banerjee and expressed serious concern over reports of large scale violence and arson against people who attended BJP’s political rally in East Midnapore district today. He asked CM that those who indulged in violence should be brought to book,” the home ministry said in a tweet.

According to a senior TMC minister close to the chief minister, Banerjee was angry with Singh’s call and shot back with allegations against BJP.

“The chief minister told the home minister that he should first consider restraining the leaders of his own party. She told Singh that BJP leaders created the provocation and started the vandalism,” said the minister who did not want to be identified because the matter involves the party chief.

TMC’s Contai MP and East Mindpore district committee chief Sisir Adhikari has vowed to give BJP ‘a message in their language’.

A senior administrative officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the state secretariat is preparing a report detailing the vandalism by allegedly by BJP supporters so that the government is ready with a reply if and when the Centre asks for a report.

About four dozen buses, government cars and police vehicles were vandalised and several motorbikes and two TMC offices were set on fire in clashes between TMC and BJP workers that erupted immediately after the end of Shah’s rally in Contai during which he said that the TMC government in West Bengal will collapse within five hours of the beginning of counting of votes for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The clashes also triggered a series of road blocks by supporters of both parties at different places in the district.

TMC minister Suvendu Adhikari, who hails from Contai, blamed BJP for the clashes, while BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said TMC created the provocation.

“Eleven people have been arrested in connection with the vandalism and arson at Contai on Tuesday but it is not possible for me to ascertain their political identity. They have been produced before a court on Wednesday. Raids are on in the neighbouring areas,” said Indrajit Basu, additional superintendent of police (rural), East Midnapore.

BJP’s Contai organisational district committee president Tapan Maity alleged that the all those arrested are BJP supporters.

“As many as 200 buses, a van, tractor and motorbikes were vandalised and set ablaze by TMC workers on Tuesday. They entered our buses and beat up supporters. And now the police is being used to harass and arrest our supporters. We’ll give a fitting reply in time,” Maity alleged.

On Wednesday, the TMC observed a protest day in Contai. They will hold a rally on the same ground on February 3.

First Published: Jan 30, 2019 15:14 IST