Bengal simmers after BJP and TMC clash during Amit Shah’s Kolkata roadshow

A dogfight broke out between Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Campaigning for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal turned violent as bottles, bricks and stones flew freely and a bust of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was destroyed. Clashes began when BJP president Amit Shah’s convoy passed by Calcutta University campus on College Street.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajesh Kumar said: “Over 100 people have been detained by police. We will take strong action against those who are responsible for the incidents.”

The students’ wing of the Trinamool Congress — Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad — gathered in front of the Calcutta University gates and displayed posters asking Shah to “go back” and apologise for his comment “Kangal Bangla [destitute Bengal]”.

“Democracy has been strangled there… And the question is not the BJP and TMC or the central government and Bengal government. This entire matter is between the public of Bengal and the Bengal government. The Bengal public is upset with the Bengal government’s actions and its atrocities, and wants to make its decision in a democratic manner. This an attempt by the TMC to stop that,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he targeted the TMC.

Calling the incident “a black chapter in democracy”, BJP President Amit Shah said: “TMC is resorting to violence to stop us.” He said the stone-pelting and arson was the handiwork of “anti-social elements” at the “behest of the TMC”.

“Mamata Didi cannot frighten us with violence. Our workers and mediapersons sustained injuries in the attack by Trinamool. This incident appears to be a part of some larger conspiracy of the Mamata government. Violence has no space in democracy,” he added.

Abha Boyal

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