NEW DELHI: West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s injury in Wednesday’s incident in which she suffered injuries is snowballing into a major controversy. Both TMC and its main rival the BJP are approaching the Election Commission trading charges.
Following the incident in Nandigram, a delegation of the TMC met Election Commission officials in Kolkata on Thursday and later alleged that the “Election Commission did nothing despite there being reports of a possible attack on Banerjee”.
Claiming that the attack was a “deep-rooted conspiracy to take the life of the TMC supremo”, party leaders said anti-social elements have been mobilised from the neighbouring states by the BJP in Nandigram to unleash violence.
The EC can’t shun responsibility as it is in charge of the law-and-order situation in poll-bound West Bengal, they said.
Moreover, a parliamentary delegation of the TMC has decided to meet Election Commission officials in the national capital on Friday over concerns following the alleged attack on Mamata Banerjee, party sources said. Six TMC MPs from both the Houses of Parliament are expected to arrive in Delhi to join the delegation, a source said.
The Trinamool Congress supremo was injured in the leg after being allegedly pushed by unidentified people near a temple at Reyapara area during campaigning at Nandigram on Wednesday, where the BJP has pitted her protege-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari against her.
Banerjee alleged that she was pushed by four to five men while she was trying to get into the car, following which fell flat on her face.
However, this charge has been rubbished by the BJP. It has written a letter to the Election Commission demanding a detailed inquiry into the incident.
In the letter written to the West Bengal chief electoral officer on Thursday, the BJP leaders expressed shock at the incident. Calling the injury sustained by Mamata as “unfirtunate”, the letter says, “We are shocked to see on TV that the honourable chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been injured while in Nandigram assembly constituency wherein she has alleged that she was pushed by some people.:
The letter stated that it was a very serious allegation involving the security of the CM. They said the BJP leaders expressed concern and said how such an incident could have occurred especially when the security director and additional director, security were both present at the spot. “Police personnel in Nandigram today were in thousands which makes the breach even more alarming,” it said.
The BJP leaders requested the EC to order a detailed enquiry into the incident. They also demanded the video footage to be made available in the public domain to clear the air.
Meanwhile, TMC has asked the EC to take the responsibility for “attempt to murder” on Mamata. Slamming the EC for allegedly failing to provide proper security to Mamata, the ruling party said the EC can’t shun responsibility as it is in charge of law and order situation in the poll-bound West Bengal.
Claiming that the attack was a “deep-rooted conspiracy to take the life of TMC supremo”, the TMC leaders said anti- social elements have been mobilised from the neighbouring states by the BJP in Nandigram to unleash violence.
Accusing the EC of acting “as per orders” of the BJP leaders, the TMC delegation, after meeting the EC officials here, alleged that the “Election Commission did nothing despite there being reports of a possible attack on Banerjee”.
A delegation of the BJP also met EC officials in Kolkata and demanded a thorough probe into the incident in which Banerjee got injured in Nandigram the previous day.
“The law and order situation in Bengal was good. But, after the announcement of elections, law and order become the responsibility of the EC. The EC removed the DGP of the state police, and the very next day she was attacked,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.
The Election Commission had on Tuesday ordered removal of Virendra as director gGeneral of police of the poll-bound West Bengal with immediate effect and appointed P Nirajnayan in his place.
Claiming that several comments by senior BJP leaders had dropped enough hints that Banerjee might be attacked, Chatterjee said “despite having those inputs the chief minister was left with no proper security”.
“Who will take responsibility for the attack on Mamata Banerjee, when EC is in charge of administration? EC has to take responsibility for the incident.
“They are acting as per orders of the BJP leaders. The BJP is asking the EC to remove an official, and they are removing him,” he said.
The three-member TMC delegation led by state minister Partha Chatterjee met EC officials, registered a complaint into the incident, and demanded a thorough probe.
He was accompanied by Rajya Sabha party leader Derek O’Brien and state minister Chandrima Bhattacharya.
“You have to understand the chronology. On March 9, EC removes the DGP, a BJP MP posted on social media ‘you will see what will happen after 5 PM’, leave a woman chief minister’s security less and then she is attacked. If you go through the social media posts by the BJP leaders, there have been indications that she would be attacked,” O’Brien said.
He took an apparent dig at the rival saffron party for claiming that the incident was a well-scripted drama to garner sympathy votes.
“Those responsible for this heinous incident need to be brought to book. It was in poor taste that within 30 minutes, there were other kinds of statements that were very shameful.
“We condemn those statements. Talk to doctors and see for yourself what happened,” he said.
A BJP delegation also the EC officials. After meeting the officials, the BJP leaders also demanded a thorough probe into the incident.
“We want our chief minister to get well soon. She has alleged that few people pushed her. We demand that there should be a thorough probe into the incident as EC’s reputation is at stake.
“The video footage of the incident should be looked into. We request that a detailed inquiry is ordered,” BJP leader Sabyasachi Dutta told reporters after a meeting with EC.
Wednesday’s incident indicates that the law and order situation has completely collapsed in the state, he said.
A delegation of BJP leaders on Thursday visited the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata where Mamata Banerjee is undergoing treatment.
Former governor of Tripura and Meghalaya Tathagata Roy and state BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, who went to the state-run hospital, said that they could not meet the Trinamool Congress chief owing to medical reasons.
“We conveyed our concern to the TMC leaders present, including minister Arup Biswas, and wished the chief minister a speedy recovery,” Bhattacharya said.
According to the doctors, Banerjee is presently undergoing treatment at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata with injury to her left leg, waist, shoulder, and neck.
The TMC supremo alleged on Wednesday evening that during her campaign in Nandigram, she was attacked by four-five men who pushed her, besides banging on her the door of her car, leading to the injuries.
Meanwhile, Mamata has appealed to her supporters to maintain peace and said she will be back in campaign even on a wheelchair.
(With agency inputs)