Clashes between TMC and BJP supporters led to a day-long drama on the streets of north Kolkata on Friday. Interestingly both the groups had gathered to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.BJP workers had gathered at a guest house in north Kolkata to continue with the bike rally ‘Sankalp Pratirodh Abhiyan’ organised by members of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), which had begun at Contai in East Midnapore district and was supposed to conclude at Cooch Behar on January 18.BJP workers allege that TMC supporters launched an unprovoked attack on them. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that their workers were beaten up and locked up at the guesthouse. “Police were called but they did nothing. Our boys had to rescue the others,” he said. He also said that later when the bike rally was flagged off from the BJP state headquarters off CR Avenue, it was stopped at Girish Park area and an irate mob attacked them with sticks and stones and also attacked the BJP headquarters. “Many of our supporters have been injured and had to be hospitalised,” he said.Heavy police was deployed to bring the situation under control. Vehicle of the special court observer Ravi Shankar Dutta who was monitoring the rally, was also attacked and the windscreen was smashed. “Out of nowhere the mob appeared near Mahajati Sadan and attacked us,” he said. Driver of his vehicle said that their car was between two police vehicles but other than one policeman no one put up any resistance.The BJP rally was stalled after the violence. “TMC ministers, leaders are behind these people. There is no such thing as democracy in Bengal. Court has given permission for rally and the ruling party is using muscle power to stop it. I will appeal to the centre that here is no democracy here so President’s rule should be imposed,” Ghosh added.Later the Calcutta High Court said that the rally should be stopped as of now and can be resumed on January 15 and can continue till January 20. Ghosh said that they would resume on January 15 only if situation was conducive enough.While state women and child development minister Sashi Panja blamed it on BJP saying, “They had gone around breaking chairs”. Ghosh retorted, “They are alleging that we have broken chairs. They should thank their lucky stars that we did not break their heads.”It was found out that BJP national president had called up Ghosh and sought a report of the incident. Sources also said that Union minister Nitin Gadkari has cancelled his participation at the state government’s Bengal Global Business Summit on January 16, after the incident. “We have told union minister Arjun Meghawal to tell the Centre to avoid any cooperation and courtesy with the state government. I believe this is the reason why Gadkari has boycotted BGBS,” Ghosh said.BJP leaders put up a sit-in demonstration on Mayo Road near Mahatma Gandhi statue and later in the evening, a BJP delegation also met West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and requested his intervention. Mukul Roy said that it was murder of democracy. “In the past many parties have carried out such yatras peacefully. We have not seen such a ruling party in Bengal,” Roy said.TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said that it was the habit of BJP to spread violence to hit headlines. “They take out rallies along with media and turn the jhandas (flags) into dandas (sticks). They have brought in outsiders to create trouble,” he said.
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