Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Friday referred to the attack on Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda’s convoy in West Bengal as a “staged” act, and said it was a shame that the central agencies could not save the party from it.
Moitra said that “every central force imaginable” accompanied BJP leaders on their visit to Bengal. “Had heard of college BYOB [bring your own booze] parties,” she said in a tweet. “BJP having a BYOS (Bring Your Own Security) party everyday in Bengal – CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force], CISF [Central Industrial Security Force] and every central force imaginable accompanies each two-bit leader who visits. Shame they can’t protect you from staged attacks.”
Moitra’s party colleagues Saugata Roy and Kalyan Banerjee, meanwhile, alleged that convicted criminals were a part of Nadda’s convoy, PTI reported. They added that the “goons” were carrying weapons to instigate violence. They said the BJP was trying to create a situation where the Centre could interfere in Bengal’s matters.
“What the central government is doing by sending a letter seeking report from the state government is unconstitutional,” Banerjee said at a press briefing. “The MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs] summoning the chief secretary and DGP is unacceptable.”
On Friday evening, the Banerjee-led administration said the two top officials will not attend the meeting with the Centre as the incident was already being looked into, reported NDTV. “While further reports are being obtained and compiled, in the circumstances, I am directed to request you to kindly dispense with the presence of state officials in the meeting, considering the state government is already addressing this issue with utmost seriousness,” Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said in a letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla.
Banerjee added that the state government was only answerable to the Assembly, ANI reported. “No other person can call for any explanation in respect of law and order situation, especially central government. This is a violation of the Constitution. This is colourable exercise of power.”
The Trinamool Congress leader also called West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar the “conduit pipe” of the BJP. Earlier in the day, Dhankhar criticised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for blaming the attack on Nadda’s convoy on “outsiders” and warned her not to “play with or fan this kind of fire”.
Dhankhar also referred to Banerjee making derogatory remarks against Nadda and asking whether the incident was planned. He asked to maintain dignity and withdraw her statement.
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The BJP has repeatedly blamed the Trinamool Congress for the attack. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on Thursday sought a report from the state government and ordered an inquiry into what he called “sponsored violence” of Bengal’s ruling party.
Nadda’s convoy was attacked with stones and bricks in Kolkata on Thursday while has was on his way to attend a rally in Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district, which is Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s constituency. The convoy also included the cars of BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Kailash Vijayvargiya.
The BJP also accused the police of inaction. Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said a mob of over 200 people, armed with sticks, gathered outside the BJP’s office in Kolkata. “Some of them climbed on the cars parked outside the office and raised slogans,” he said in a letter to Shah. Ghosh alleged that the police did not try to restrain them and let them come close to Nadda’s vehicle.
The police, meanwhile, said that Nadda managed to safely reach the venue of his event and that nothing happened to his convoy. The BJP president was on a two-day visit to West Bengal for an outreach campaign ahead of next year’s Assembly elections.