A day after supporters of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) engaged in violent clashes on Kolkata's street following a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah, he alleged on Wednesday that the ruling party of West Bengal engaged in violence and was responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation.
At the heart of the controversy is the violence that erupted on Tuesday evening along with the destruction of a statue of reformer Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar in the city. According to a news report by Press Trust of India quoting officials from Kolkata, Shah's convoy was attacked with stones allegedly by TMC supporters from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College, triggering a clash between supporters of the two parties.
“Now I have heard that an FIR (first information report) has been filed against me. I want to tell Didi (West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee) that against me there is an FIR, but BJP workers have been killed in your regime. If you think you will scare our supporters into not coming out to vote, then you are mistaken... wait till 23 May when results come out," Shah told reporters at a press conference at BJP's official headquarters in the national capital.
Shah accused both Kolkata Police and the Election Commission (EC) of being a 'mute spectator' and also accused the latter of 'double standards' while taking action. “I have information that observers (of EC) have communicated that unless goons are not nabbed, elections will not be fair. If this is how elections will take place in West Bengal then the EC's free and fair stand will be under doubt...I appeal to the EC to ensure that at least the last phase of polling in the state takes place fairly," Shah added.
He alleged that on Tuesday, ahead of his roadshow in Kolkata, posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his and his party candidates were torn by TMC workers and yet 'BJP supporters remained peaceful'. He went on to add that for 2.5 hours, the roadshow was peaceful until three incidents of violence happened. On the destruction of the statue, Shah said: “Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar's statue was desecrated by supporters of TMC to gain sympathy."
Both the TMC and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Parties have called for protest rallies in the state against the destruction of the statue. On Wednesday, Banerjee along with several top TMC leaders changed their Facebook and Twitter displays pictures with photos of Vidyasagar.
TMC's senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O' Brien shared a series of photos and videos on Twitter on Wednesday morning and accused 'vandalism by goons' of the BJP. “Uploading multiple videos of horrific events in Kolkata last evening. Irrefutable evidence that BJP goons, part of Shah’s roadshow, went on rampage and even desecrated Vidyasagar’s bust, showing no respect or love for Bengal’s culture. We guarantee the videos are 100% authentic," Brien wrote.