Units of the Bharatiya Janata Party in different parts of West Bengal are finding it difficult to carry out their political activities on the ground, owing to the “violence” and “hooliganism” allegedly being perpetrated by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers against BJP karyakartas in Bengal. The problem is more acute at the ground level in districts and villages where the local BJP cadre are facing hooliganism of the TMC cadre and an unresponsive local administration, which has been asked by the state government not to meddle in between.
Ever since former TMC heavyweight Mukul Roy joined the BJP in November this year, several TMC workers from across the state have flocked to the saffron party, causing heartburn to the TMC. In the past two months, there have been several incidents of violence against BJP workers across different parts of West Bengal, allegedly led by TMC’s “hooligan mandal”, as they are called by local BJP leaders and workers.
In the Bongaon sub-division of North 24 Parganas district, the newly incorporated BJP office was ransacked and flags removed last week, allegedly by some 100-150 TMC workers who came armed with sticks. They hurled abuses outside the party office. Debdas Mondal, a core committee member of North 24 Parganas district BJP, told The Sunday Guardian, “The ruling party has killed the democratic space in this state by refusing and denying Opposition parties a space to practice their politics. Our party office was attacked and flags thrown around by the TMC’s ‘hooligan mandal’, who have been gathering around our party office every now and then and provoking a fight. We have also informed the police authorities about the same, but no action has been taken.”
“The TMC is using dirty tricks by threatening people against joining BJP or even attending our rallies. This is a violation of our constitutional rights, as I am being forced to abstain from the obligations and responsibilities that my party has bestowed upon me. If this does not stop, we will launch a massive rally across the state,” he added.
A complaint regarding the party office ransacking incident was also submitted to the local police station, and a representation by the BJP was also forwarded to the Sub-Divisional Police Officer and the Sub-Divisional Officer, seeking action on the incident. However, no action has been taken yet. According to police sources in Bongaon, they are unable to do much since they say that their hands are tied and they have been instructed from the “top” not to take action against any TMC worker.
Not only this, another incident of hooliganism and vandalism was carried out earlier this week allegedly by TMC workers at Barrackpore in Kolkata, where the BJP office was ransacked and several BJP workers beaten up. Even Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP president, was manhandled there, when he had gone to address a rally.
The BJP has also alleged that several attacks on their workers and party offices across the state are being carried out by TMC cadre on a regular basis and they have also alleged that these attacks are being carried out in connivance with the state police and state administration.
A senior BJP leader from West Bengal said, “The police and state administration are working together to muzzle the voices of the Opposition. Not only our party offices, even our workers and rallies are being attacked. The police refuses to give us permission for carrying out rallies and public addresses. This state is becoming dictatorial.”
Local leaders and district presidents have also apprised the state level BJP as well as the Central BJP of the issue, and urged that democracy be brought back in the state. The state leadership has reportedly taken strong cognizance of the matter.
Sayantan Basu, general secretary and spokesperson of Bengal BJP, told this newspaper, “There is no democracy in West Bengal. This state is under dictatorial rule. There have been reports of incidents of violence against our party workers from across the state. In the last one year, 18 of our members have been killed, while over 300 have been injured and thousands of false cases have been registered against our karyakartas.”
“We will raise this issue and conduct huge rallies across all Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha seats in the state. We have also apprised the Union Ministry of Home Affairs of the police atrocities and use of the administration against our workers in Bengal,” Basu added.
Despite attempts to seek a reaction on the allegations made by the BJP against the TMC, spokespersons of TMC declined to comment on the issue.