A TMC party office was ransacked and vehicles ferrying the BJP workers were set on fire in clashes that broke out following a rally by BJP chief Amit Shah at Kanthi in East Midnapore district of West Bengal on Tuesday, the parties claimed. Sources in the two parties said, three persons were injured in the clashes. However, no confirmation was available from the police.
Following the incident, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and expressed serious concern over reports of violence near the venue of the rally of BJP president Amit Shah in East Midnapore today. He has asked the CM that those indulging in violence should be brought to book.
The BJP alleged that buses in which party workers were returning from Shah's rally were ransacked and set on fire allegedly by TMC activists. The Trinamool Congress on the other hand claimed that the BJP workers had attacked a local TMC party office in Kanthi and vandalised it.
Irked TMC supporters then retaliated and clashes broke out, they said. "When our supporters were returning from Amit Shah's rally they were attacked by TMC activists. This is a shame. We condemn it," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said. As the situation spiralled out of control, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) was called in to control it. The RAF continues to be deployed in the area as tensions prevail.
The BJP also alleged that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has unleashed "terror" on its workers after the "huge" rally of party president Amit Shah in the state left her "very worried". BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed the state's ruling Trinamool Congress had targeted vehicles carrying BJP workers after Shah's rally.
"A very worried Mamata Banerjee has unleashed terror on BJP workers and ordinary people. It is clear that she has lost the mandate," Patra claimed at a press conference, alleging that "Talibani forces" are at work in the state at the TMC's behest.
Attacking the chief minister, he said she recently held a joint opposition rally in the state for "saving" democracy and questioned "if this is what democracy was all about for her". "Democracy is being murdered in West Bengal. I want to ask parties which attended her rally as to what is their stand on violence against BJP workers," Patra said.
Senior TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari claimed that the BJP is trying to disturb peace and stability in the district. "BJP workers attacked our party offices and this led to retaliation by our workers. If our party office is attacked are we going to offer sweets?" he said.
TMC issues defamation notice to Amit Shah for remarks against Mamata Banerjee
Senior TMC leader Chandrima Bhattacharya on Tuesday issued a defamation notice to BJP national president Amit Shah for his remarks against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. At a rally in East Midnapore district's Kanthi, Shah attacked TMC government in West Bengal and alleged that Banerjee's paintings were bought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees.
Bhattacharya, who is also the Minister of State for Health in West Bengal government, accused Shah of trying to malign the TMC supremo's image by "uttering lies". "I have issued a defamation notice against BJP national president Amit Shah for his defamatory and malicious remarks against Mamata Banerjee," she said.
"I want to ask him on what basis he had made those comments against our party leader. He has to either give evidence in support of his statements or apologise publicly for his comments. If he doesn't do it we will take legal steps against him," she said.