BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh was allegedly manhandled, while party MP Arjun Singh faced ''go back'' slogans by ruling TMC workers on the last day of campaigning for the Bhabanipur bypoll, according to several media reports. Both were stumping for party candidate Priyanka Tibrewal, who is pitted against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Bhabanipur Assembly constituency in the city on the last day of campaigning on Monday.
Ghosh was allegedly pushed by TMC workers when he went inside a vaccination camp at Jodubabur Bazar area in the constituency, where bypoll will be held on 30 September. TMC in turn alleged that Ghosh's bodyguard brandished firearms to scare away the crowd. TMC supporters present at the spot reportedly pushed Ghosh out and shouted slogans demanding that he leave alleging that he was campaigning at a state-run vaccination programme. Ghosh was escorted out of the camp by his security personnel and left in his car.
"After realising that the Trinamool will lose in Bhabanipur, they tried to stop me in this way. I will Election Commission regarding the incident," Dilip Ghosh said, as per News18.
According to news agency PTI, the Election Commission has sought a report from the state government regarding the incident.
Meanwhile, Ghosh recalled the horrific incident.
"While I was campaigning in Bhabanipur today, TMC workers hurled abuses at me. I was meeting some people at a vaccination centre when some people suddenly surrounded me & started jostling. One of our workers was badly beaten," Ghosh was quoted as saying to news agency ANI .
He went onto lament that the local police couldn't help. "I was also attacked. My security tried to stop it & they brought out their guns to scare the attackers. Arjun Singh was also surrounded and he was forced to leave the area amid 'go back' slogans. Local police didn't help."
He added that people were living in 'constant fear'. "Election Commission is aware of everything. We've complained to them several times in Delhi & Kolkata. Despite this, no security arrangement was made. There is no point to hold polls if we can't reach out to voters. People are living in constant fear."
An angry Ghosh later told reporters that the TMC had attacked him without provocation and heckled him and injured a BJP activist.
"We will take up the issue with the Election Commission. What kind of election this is?" he asked.
Dr Sukanta Majumdar, BJP Bengal's chief lamented the "Talibani Raj" in the state, saying Ghosh's personal security had saved him. "They have tried to kick our senior leader. It was Ghosh's security that saved him. This is "Talibani Raj" going on," he said.
Singh, who is in charge of the BJP campaign in the area, faced ''go back'' slogans. He was also called ''bohiragato'' (outsider) as he went around the area soliciting votes.
The MP represents Barrackpore constituency in North 24 Parganas district. Singh accused the state administration and police of doing nothing even when MPs and national level Opposition leaders are being attacked.
High drama marked the incident as a strong police force barricaded the area and slogan shouting TMC activists gathered nearby.
TMC leader Firhad Hakim, a close confidant of Banerjee accused BJP of provoking the people to create disturbances in the peaceful middle class neighbourhood. "BJP is resorting to provocation sensing defeat. It is better to ignore them. Common people are protesting against them for spreading hatred, falsehood and personal attacks," Hakim said.
In a tweet, TMC allleged that Ghosh's bodyguard had brandished firearms to scare away the people.
"@BJP4Bengal HITS A NEW LOW! How DARE a gun be aimed at (the) public in broad daylight? Do people not have the right to protest against leaders they do not support? Such blatant violation of human rights is shameful! This compromises the safety and security of people in Bhabanipur!" the party tweeted.
.@BJP4Bengal HITS A NEW LOW!
How DARE a gun be aimed at public in broad daylight? Do people not have the right to protest against leaders they do not support? Such blatant violation of human rights is shameful! This compromises the safety and security of people in Bhabanipur! pic.twitter.com/mdVyKvGuD7
" All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) September 27, 2021
With inputs from PTI