Sporadic clashes between ruling TMC and the opposition BJP activists on Saturday marred the saffron party's anti-government campaign in West Bengal leaving more than a dozen people injured and prompting it to demand the imposition of President's Rule in the state. The BJP Saturday held its state-wide campaign christened 'Aar Noi Anyay' (No more injustice) against the "misrule and corruption" of the Mamata Banerjee government.
At least two union ministers participated in the campaign at Kolkata and East Midnapore district. Several instances of violence between Trinamool Congress and BJP were reported from West Burdwan, North 24 Parganas and Coochbehar districts.
At least nine people were injured and several houses were ransacked in a clash between TMC and BJP supporters at Barabani in West Burdwan district on Saturday during which crude bombs were hurdled. The clash broke out when the ruling party tried to stop the saffron party activists from taking out rallies, police said. The BJP alleged that TMC supporters beat up its workers, a charge which was dismissed by the ruling party in the state. The TMC termed it an incident of "infighting" within BJP.
Union minister Babul Supriyo alleged that the local TMC leaders were behind the incident. "Those involved with the coal mining mafia were also involved in the incident. This is the reality of West Bengal," the Asansol MP said.
BJP national secretary and Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya who rushed to meet the injured, alleged that the police failed to take action against the miscreants despite seeing that bombs were hurled at people. "The rule of law has ceased to exist in West Bengal.
The goons are calling the shots. We have informed our senior party leaders and demand that President's Rule be immediately imposed in the state," he said. Dismissing BJP's allegations, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said "The clash was a result of infighting within the BJP. TMC is not involved in the incident. The saffron party is trying to create an issue to malign us." Reacting to the saffron party's demand for imposition of President's Rule, Ghosh dared it to do so in the state.
"The BJP is in power at the Centre. Instead of threatening us, let them impose President's Rule in the state if they have the guts. They will get a befitting reply in the elections," he said. In Coochbehar's Sitai area clashes broke out between TMC and the saffron party activists which left more than 12 workers of both parties wounded. The BJP's rally was led by MP Nisith Pramanik and state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu.
At Duttapukur area in North 24 Parganas district clashes broke out between the police and BJP workers after they tried to break a barricade put up by the force. Speaking on the clashes, BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh alleged that law and order have collapsed in West Bengal.
"The rule of law has ceased to exist in West Bengal.It will be restored only if the BJP comes to power," he said.
The TMC on the other hand accused the saffron party of trying to vitiate the political atmosphere of the state ahead of the assembly polls due in April-May 2021. The BJP has emerged as the main rival of the TMC by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general elections. Its leaders are now upbeat that the party will be able to end Banerjee's 10-year rule in the state polls.