The West Bengal police on Thursday registered a case in connection with the attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram district the previous day, PTI reported. The first information report was lodged on a complaint by Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Sufian.

The case was filed under Indian Penal Code sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), a senior police officer of the Purba Medinipur district told PTI. “Our investigation is already underway and we are collecting evidence,” the officer said.

Earlier in the day, District Magistrate Vibhu Goel, Superintendent of Police Praween Prakash and other police officers visited the Birulia Bazar area, where the chief minister was assaulted. The officials spoke to witnesses and accessed CCTVs installed in the area to ascertain the sequence of events.

Banerjee was injured while campaigning in Nandigram, where she will contest against her former aide and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari. The incident took place while the chief minister was returning from a temple in Reyapara.

She is currently undergoing treatment at the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, or SSKM hospital, in Kolkata. A doctor said the Trinamool Congress chief sustained “severe bone injuries” in her left ankle and foot, besides wounds on her right shoulder, forearm and neck. On Thursday afternoon, doctors treating Banerjee said that she was stable but had severe pain in her injured leg and a low sodium concentration in blood.

The chief minister alleged that the attack was a conspiracy against her. She said that she was intentionally shoved by four to five people who had entered the crowd, and that no police officer was present at the scene.

BJP, TMC leaders meet Election Commission officials

The attack sparked a verbal duel between the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, with both sides blaming each other.

The BJP, which is one of the main players in the state elections, accused Banerjee of “spreading lies”, saying they will complain to the Election Commission about her actions, NDTV reported. The saffron party alleged that the Trinamool Congress chief was trying to gain political mileage ahead of the Assembly elections.

A delegation of BJP leaders met Election Commission officials in Kolkata on Thursday and submitted a memorandum seeking an investigation, according to ANI. Party leaders Sabyasachi Dutta and Shishir Bajoria led the delegation. “We are shocked to see CM was injured while in Nandigram wherein she has alleged that she was pushed by some people,” the memorandum stated. “We request that a detailed enquiry is ordered.”

Meanwhile, a three-member delegation of the Trinamool Congress, led by minister Partha Chatterjee, also met the Election Commission. They filed a complaint on the incident and demanded a thorough inquiry, according to PTI. Chatterjee accused the poll body of acting “as per orders of BJP leaders” and alleged that they did nothing despite there being reports of “a possible attack” on Banerjee.

“The law and order situation in Bengal was good,” Chatterjee said, after meeting Election Commission officials. “But after announcement of elections, law and order becomes responsibility of the EC. The EC removed DGP [Director General of Police] of the state police and the very next day she was attacked.”

The party’s Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, who was also part of the delegation, spoke on similar lines. “You have to understand the chronology,” he said, according to PTI. “You remove the DGP, leave a woman chief minister’s security less and then attack her. If you go through social media post by BJP leaders, there have been indications that she would be attacked.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who suffered an injury in her leg in Nandigram, being shifted to the SSKM hospital in Kolkata on March 10. (Credit: PTI)

Addressing the media later in the day, Chatterjee hinted at sabotage as he pointed out that the attack on Banerjee took place after the Election Commission transferred the state’s top police officer, reported ABP Ananda.

On Tuesday, the Election Commission had ordered the transfer of West Bengal Director General of Police Virendra, and appointed P Nirajnayan to the position. In a directive to the state chief secretary, the poll body said Virendra “should not be given any post which directly or indirectly relates to [the] conduct of election”.

Chatterjee also alleged that the nomination papers of TMC candidates were being cancelled deliberately. “The nomination papers of [TMC candidate] Ujjwal Kumar was cancelled,” he added. “Today, the court ruled that his nomination papers were valid.”

Dilip Ghosh demands CBI inquiry, accuses Banerjee of doing ‘drama’

BJP’s West Bengal unit President Dilip Ghosh demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation-led inquiry, saying that it needs to be seen whether the incident was a merely a “well-scripted drama” to garner votes, PTI reported.

“How come a Z-plus protectee gets attacked is a matter that has to be looked into,” Ghosh told reporters. “The state should order a CBI probe to bring out the truth.”

The BJP leader added that Banerjee’s alleged act to gain sympathy votes would not yield any results this time. “The people of the state have seen such drama earlier too,” he claimed. “Those who know they would be voted out of power can stoop to any level to get votes.”

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij also said that Banerjee’s injury was not as serious as she was making it to be, ANI reported. “Mamata Banerjee wants to become like [farmer leader] Rakesh Tikait,” he said. “She wants to gain sympathy by shedding a few tears. But her time is up in West Bengal.”

Vij was referring to the emotional appeal made by Tikait in January at the Ghazipur farmers’ protest site, which spurred his supporters to gather at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border after local administration had given an ultimatum to vacate the site.