BJP, Trinamool supporters face off during roadshow in Kolkata

Sovan Chatterjee, aide — who recently switched sides — gave the rally the skip.

Supporters of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress on Monday came face to face during a roadshow organised by the former in the city. While there was a flare up as the supporters waved flags at each other and also some projectiles flew in the air, the large deployment of police prevented violence.

BJP leader Kaliash Vijayvargiya, who participated in the roadshow, said the party supporters exercised restraint in the Wattgunge area when projectiles were thrown at them. He claimed that attempts were made to incite the BJP supporters so that the party could have been blamed for any violence. The Trinamool Congress had set up a stage on the other side of the road on the rally route. Party vice-president Mukul Roy and MP Arjun Singh participated. The rally, which started at Alipore area, arrived at the BJP State headquarters in central Kolkata. While Mr. Roy and Mr. Vijayvargiya downplayed the incident, BJP State president Dilip Ghosh said it is for the party leaders to utilise the platform.

While the event was touted as show of strength by the BJP in Kolkata, newly appointed observer to Kolkata zone Sovan Chatterjee was missing from it. So was his aide Baishakhi Banerjee, who has been appointed co-convener. It did not go well with the party leadership. Mr. Chatterjee was the Mayor of Kolkata for eight years before he switched sides from the Trinamool Congress and joined the BJP in 2018.

“The party has opened doors for everyone. When will someone come and actively contribute depends on the individual,” he said. Asked about the possibility of disciplinary action, Mr. Ghosh said there are provisions of that in the BJP as well.

Late on Sunday night, State committee Krishnendu Mukherjee alleged that shots were fired at his car. While he alleged that the Trinamool Congress was behind the attack, the ruling party denied the charges. A BJP leader sustained bullet injury in Malda district late on Sunday evening.

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