Clashes between Trinamool Congress and BJP erupted in South 24 Parganas district and a bomb blast killed three people in East Medinipur on Saturday following heightened political tensions due to rallies held by TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and BJP leader Suvendhu Adhikary in the run-up to Panchayat polls.
A clash between BJP and TMC workers broke out in South 24 Parganas district’s Hatuganj area after supporters of the ruling Trinamool party allegedly stopped BJP supporters from attending Adhikari’s rally in Diamond Harbour.
Suvendu later addressed a mega rally in Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, in a show of strength.
Meanwhile, Abhishek Banerjee held his rally some 200 metres away from Adhikary’s residence “Shantikunj" in Purba Medinipur district.
The political slugfest was triggered by BJP on Friday night after it accused the ruling TMC of not allowing the saffron party to hold the public meeting and accused its workers of dismantling their stage.
The TMC hit back claiming the allegations were fresh drama set up by the BJP.
Three Killed in Bomb Blast
On Saturday morning, a bomb blast was heard in Arjun Nagar gram panchayat village in East Medinipur, killing three people and injuring several. The incident further triggered uproar with opposition leader Suvendhu Adhikary and senior leader Amit Malviya demanding an NIA investigation into the matter.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh termed the incident a conspiracy by the BJP in a bid to attack Abhishek Banerjee.
Interestingly, both Abhishek Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikary began their meeting in each other’s bastion at the time at 3.25 pm.
Banerjee dared BJP to put him to jail responding to Adhikary’s remark against the TMC made a day earlier claiming ‘all thieves must be arrested’.
Taking a swing at Adhikary, he said “If you have guts, put me in jail. If they (BJP) did not have ED, CBI and one section of the Judiciary, people would have hit them and given them a lesson.
Calling the TMC turncoat ‘Mir Jafar’, he said in the coming 500 years, people will refer to Adhikary’s betrayal like the commander of the Bengal army and urged people to relieve Medinipur from the clutches of the “gaddar." Mir Jafar was the commander of the Bengal army under the Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud-Daulah in the 1750s. Jafar betrayed him during the Battle of Plassey, paving way for British rule in India.
Before his rally, Banerjee visited villages and took a veiled attack against the opposition leader stating that the conditions in the rural area was poor without naming Adhikary. He also asked Pradhan and the Up-Pradhan to submit their resignations.
Violent Clashes in South 24 Paraganas
Meanwhile, Suvendu Adhikary began his speech by slamming Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek and attacking the state government over its law and order situation.
Before his meeting, clashes between TMC and BJP workers broke out in South 24 parganas’ Hatuganj area where the ruling party was holding protests against price hike, blocking a road. The BJP accused the TMC of stopping its party supporters from attending Adhikary’s rally.
BJP leader Agnimitra Paul reached the site after the situation turned violent and led to the ransacking of shops and a motorcycle being set on fire.
Adhikary on his way said “I can also block roads in East Medinipur in three second but I will not do. I will report the incident to the SP and DM.” Adhikary also showed injured supporters in his rally and said that he will see to the matter.
Both Adhikary and Banerjee levied corruption charges against each other.
The TMC MP said, “they have done case why I am doing sabha here. The whole day he says “Abhishek Banerjee, Abhishek Banerjee… He does not name me calls me “bhaipo" because then the case will be on me. Tell me who is biggest thief of Bengal, who has taken money on camera, who has taken money from Sudipto Sen?"
Suvendu on the other hand said, “The local MP (Abhishek Banerjee) is an all-devouring man… He eats coal, sand, cattle and the jobs of candidates… His hunger is insatiable."
Both of them blamed each other and attempted to disrupt each other’s respective meetings.
Banerjee referred to the bomb blasts reported in the morning and said, “Now I understand what December Dhamaka is. They will hurl bombs, do conspiracy and will think I will not come. I am not that person. I am more “ziddi” (stubborn) then you are. They went to the court to stop me, I did not stop him from doing rally, only he did not get a decorator, next time he should call the helpline number.”
Suvendu similarly stated, “TMC has tried to disrupt our meeting to the best of their ability.. I will also see to it.
Interestingly, both of them spoke of central funds. Suvendu said, “the Centre has disbursed enough money to the state under various schemes in the last few months… The excuse of “central indifference" is a concocted story to disrupt this rally… It’s as if the region is owned by TMC as its personal property."
Abhishek Banerjee on the other hand said “What has he done for Bengal?". He referred to the recent controversy regarding actor Paresh Rawal’s comments against the Bengali community during an election rally of the BJP in Gujarat and said Suvendu continues to be mum when Rawal defames Bengal.
“What he did is only stop money to the state government. I can assure that Mamata Banerjee will run it.”
Both of them also promised to dislodge one another from power. Banerjee asked his leaders to do the “Gaddar beiman hathao program.”
Analysts have said the heightened tensions ahead of the Panchayat election due to be held early next year have signalled that peaceful elections in Bengal will be challenging for the State Election Commission.
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