Elections 2021

Mamata holds ‘protest march’ against the BJP

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on May 15, 2019

To counter the BJP’s allegations against the TMC and to defend her turf from the party, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took-up a 6-km walk traversing through North Kolkata.

During the walk, which the Trinamool Congress called a “protest march”, the party paraded a host of noted Bengali littérateurs and intellectuals; apart from thousands of party workers and common men who took part in the march with Banerjee.

The “protest march” was organised after violence broke-out during BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow.

Politics of roadshow

A street fight broke out between BJP workers and the Trinamool Congress Chatra Parishad (TMCP) — student’s wing of the TMC — in the College Street area, often considered to be the “Mecca of Education in Kolkata”.

This saw desecration of a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Vidyasagar is a noted social reformer and scholar revered by all in Bengal.

Since then the matter has become a full-fledged political battle with both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP blaming each other for the violence and arson.

Also read: Amit Shah is a liar, retorts TMC; approaches poll panel

BJP leaders and workers have alleged that it was Trinamool that desecrated the statue of Vidyasagar; while the latter has claimed otherwise and blamed the saffron party.

“BJP brought in people form outside. Goons from Rajasthan, Jharkhand and MP came in. No Bengali would ever desecrate the bust of Vidyasagar,” Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee said yesterday night and ordered a “high level” probe into the matter.

In fact, the Trinamool has been trying to invoke the “Bengali pride” and say that desecration of Vidysagar’s statue is an “insult to Bengal and Bengalis”. “It was a criminal and communal conspiracy. Bengal is under attack,” the CM said at a rally.

Also read: TMC behind violence in Bengal, EC ‘mute spectator’ to poll code violations: Amit Shah

On the other hand, the BJP is using this opportunity to claim that there is a “complete break-down of law and order” in the State.

So far a series of FIRs have been filed by both the parties and several people, mostly BJP workers, arrested by the police. Some senior BJP leaders Delhi unit leader, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, was picked up and detained.

Show of Strength

Political analysts point out that the road-show and subsequent violence was a clear show of strength by the BJP.

Bengal has a history of street politics and Mamata Banerjee has quite effectively used road-shows to gauge public support and also to display her strength.

However, this was the first time, the BJP, took a leaf out of Banerjee’s book and used it against her.

“The BJP did exactly what was expected of it. Get into a street fight. It is an open show of strength by the saffron party in West Bengal where they had a low presence. Mamata may not have gauged the strength of the saffron party appropriately,” a politicial analyst said on conditions of anonymity.

“The fight has reached Mamata’s citadel. And the BJP will go all out for it. It is for Mamata to fight back,”he said.

The last phase of polls will see elections take place in Kolkata-North and South, Dum Dum, Jadavpur, Mathurapur. Joynagar, Basirhat, Barasat and Diamond Harbour.

Meanwhile, according to a tweet put out by the news agency, ANI, “No election campaigning to be held in 9 parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal”.


For more: Elections 2019

Published on May 15, 2019

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