Citing violence and death of political activists in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday demanded immediate deployment of Central forces in the poll-bound State. Meanwhile, three people were arrested in connection with the murder of a BJP functionary at Halisahar.
“Mamata ji is losing ground in the State but she wants to hold on to power by resorting to violence. We will appeal to the Election Commission for immediate deployment of Central forces in the State,” BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
The remarks by the BJP leader come a day after the murder of the party worker, Saikat Bhawal, at Halisahar in North 24 Parganas district. He was killed allegedly by Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters on Saturday evening while participating in a Griha Sampark Abhiyaan (door-to-door campaign) of the party.
Tension at Halisahar
During the day, tension gripped Halisahar when the body of Bhawal was taken to his residence. BJP supporters got into a scuffle with the police at the local station.
A number of BJP leaders, including Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, were present at the slain party worker’s residence when the body was brought from the hospital. West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said Bhawal was beaten to death on the streets for participating in a political activity.
Later in the evening, the State BJP leadership claimed that another party worker, Sukdeb Pramanik, from Katwa was “brutally murdered by TMC goons”. “Two BJP workers murdered in less than 24 hours! Clearly indicates Pishi’s desperation to retain power but she is bound to fail! People have decided to restore the peace in Bengal and uproot TMC in 2021,” the State unit of the BJP tweeted.
The Trinamool Congress leadership on the other hand claimed that the violence was something that had been imported to the State. “We are not doing any violence. Ours is a party based on Gandhian values. Violence is prevalent in the State from where Mr. Vijayvargiya hails from. Violence is something which is prevalent in Gujarat,” State minister and senior Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim said.
In another development, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee held a meeting with State Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee, who has been publicly raising issues such as favouritism within the party. After the meeting, Mr. Banerjee said that he spoke to Mr. Chatterjee about his differences with the party leadership and added that he would meet him again if invited.
The Trinamool Congress on Sunday also expelled Kanishka Panda, a leader from Purba Medinipur district, who is considered close to dissident Trinamool leader Suvendu Adhikari.
Mr. Panda had been targeting the party leadership, particularly Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, over the past few days.
Mr. Panda said that he felt relieved after his expulsion. “Now the people will realise who the bigger leader is: Mr. Adhikari or Ms. Banerjee,” he added.