Stone pelting at convey of BJP chief; Centre should impose President’s Rule in Bengal

amit Saha & Mamta banrjee

What is going on in Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Sonar Bangla” ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, to be held next year. The way BJP president JP Nadda’s convoy was attacked with bricks and stones near Kolkata on Thursday, allegedly by supporters of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress, it shows that the law and order situation in West Bengal is worsening day by day.

Stones were hurled at the convoy of BJP president Nadda and Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party general secretary in-charge of West Bengal. Vijayvargiya shared a video that showed a cracked windshield and a concrete piece that broke through the glass defences of the vehicle. It was said that several BJP leaders were also injured in the attack and many cars were damaged. The saffron party accused the Mamata Banerjee government of serious lapses in security. Home Minister Amit Shah has asked for a report on what he called “sponsored violence” and said the state government would have to answer to people of the state.

Nadda and Vijayvargiya were en-route to Diamond Harbour. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is the Lok Sabha MP from Diamond Harbour. Stone-pelting at two senior BJP leaders is the latest in the series of violence involving the TMC and the BJP in West Bengal.

However, the TMC accused the BJP of “intentional provocation” and attempting to malign the state government in the run-up to polls next year. “BJP is creating a new Hindu dharma (religion). It is a hateful dharma. This is how Hitler became who he was,” reacted the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and termed the entire episode as “nautanki.”

Violence in Bengal politics is the order of the day now. Barring election results, political violence has been making headlines from Bengal particularly after the BJP emerged as principal rival to Mamata Banerjee’s TMC in 2018 panchayat polls, and followed it up with a robust performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The Trinamool’s “murder politics” continues in a bigger way ahead of the Assembly elections. It was alleged that as many as 115 BJP leaders have been killed in West Bengal, allegedly by TMC goons, so far.

As the killings of the BJP functionaries in Kashmir makes national headlines, political observers wonder why the murders of BJP workers in West Bengal fail to get as much attention from the media. Unlike Kashmir, in West Bengal, nobody claims the responsibility for the murders which are, unfortunately, passed off as gang rivalry, factionalism, suicide, and so on.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha election, “unprecedented violence” was seen when then BJP chief Amit Shah held a roadshow and rally in Kolkata. The BJP and TMC workers clashed in Kolkata. Amit Shah’s convoy had been pelted with stones when it was on its way to Swami Vivekananda’s residence in North Kolkata. In 2019 polls, at least three people died in poll-related violence in Bengal. The BJP, after winning the Lok Sabha election, invited the kin of 42 party workers killed in political violence in Bengal to the second swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This set the BJP’s agenda for 2021 Bengal election.

In view of the situation, if the state BJP recommends a President’s Rule in Bengal, its justified. Without imposing a President’s Rule in the state, no one can expect a fair and free poll in Tagore’s state. It’s the high time that the union government should re-assess the situation of the state and impose the President Rule there before the Assembly elections.

M Charulata