JP Nadda’s convoy attacked in Bengal; Amit Shah calls it ‘sponsored violence’

Nadda is on a two-day visit to review state BJP’s activities and participate in an ongoing mass outreach campaign, which has been taken up ahead of the 2021 assembly elections.

The convoy of BJP national president J P Nadda was allegedly attacked with stones and bricks while on its way to Diamond Harbour in Kolkata on Thursday. Several cars in the convoy, including that of BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, were damaged in the attack. About ten BJP leaders, including Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy, received minor injuries.

“The scenes I saw while coming here are highlights of the anarchy prevailing under (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. We were able to reach here because of the blessings of Maa Durga. TMC workers left no stones unturned to stop or finish us. This is ‘goondaraj’. I had a bullet proof car. But almost all other cars were damaged,” said Nadda while speaking to Karyakartas in Diamond Harbor, which falls under the Lok Sabha constituency of TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee.

Bengal used to be known for its culture, but Mamata Banerjee brought it down to this low, said Nadda. “There is no administration here. Administration has collapsed. Without central forces there is no way of moving in Bengal,” Nadda added. “While I was coming, I saw ordinary people and how they are scared. Parivartan has already taken place in Bengal. People have turned their faces away from Mamata Banerjee,” he said.

Condemning the attack, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the Centre was taking the “incident seriously”. “Bengal government will have to answer to people for this sponsored violence,” he said.

Exuding confidence in winning the 2021 state assembly polls, he said, “We will end Mamata Banerjee’s rule in the next assembly polls. Our workers will just have to reach out to the people and they will vote for us.”

“Trinamool Congress workers sporting party flags and armed with lathis attacked our convoy at multiple places. Stones and bricks were hurled by TMC workers. Several cars have sustained damage. Police were mute spectators in some places and missing elsewhere,” alleged Ghosh. In defence, TMC MP Sougata Roy said: “It is not possible to cover every inch of the route with policemen. Spontaneous protests by the people may have happened in some places. That is what I saw.”

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed concerned over the “alarming reports of anarchy and lawlessness” and said rued that such incidents took place even despite his intimations to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police.

On Wednesday, the state BJP president, in a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, had informed about protests being planned by the “goons of TMC” at different places “on the way towards Diamond Harbour from New Town”. He also alleged security lapses during Nadda’s Wednesday events in the state. In the letter, Ghosh said, “Today during his (Nadda’s) different programmes in Kolkata, it was observed that there were serious lapses in security arrangements, purportedly due to negligence and/or casual approach of state police department.”

Nadda is in West Bengal to participate in an ongoing mass outreach campaign launched ahead of the assembly elections that is just six months away.

According to reports, Trinamool Congress workers were protesting against the new farm laws near Sirakhol on Thursday. When the BJP convoy was passing by, stones and bricks were thrown at the cars that had slowed down in the narrow two-lane road. A number of cars, including that of Vijayvargiya, Ghosh and security officers sustained damages and their windscreens were smashed.

In the letter to Amit Shah, Ghosh had also alleged that at the BJP’s party office in Hastings, “there was a mob of 200-plus with sticks, bamboos, etc. demonstrating by raising black flags”. “Some of them climbed the cars parked outside the office and raised slogans. Police dod not intervene to stop them and casually allowed them to come within a close perimeter of Naddaji’s vehicle,” he wrote.

He also alleged that Nadda’s convoy was stopped at various traffic junctions causing “serious concern” for “potential security hazards”.

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