The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said that it will stage a countrywide dharna on Wednesday against the reported post-poll violence in West Bengal. The BJP has accused the Trinamool Congress of engaging in violence.
“This protest will be held following all Covid protocols across all organisational mandals of the BJP,” the party tweeted.
The BJP claimed that six of its members were killed and the party’s offices were vandalised by Trinamool Congress supporters, according to The Indian Express. The Trinamool Congress has denied the charge and claimed that four of its workers were killed, reported The Times of India.
BJP leaders, including state unit chief Dilip Ghosh and party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, tweeted videos of the alleged incidents of violence. Various reports put the toll to be between eight and 11. However, there has been no official confirmation yet by the state police.
The alleged violence took place after the Mamata Banerjee-led party on Sunday emerged victorious in the West Bengal Assembly polls, winning 213 seats – way beyond the majority mark of 148. The BJP managed to secure only 77 constituencies.
In view of the violence, Banerjee has appealed for peace. “Elections are over now...Sometimes it becomes very heated,” she said. “There is also no denying that Bharatiya Janata Party and the central forces committed atrocities. I will request all to stay peaceful.”
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs said that it has sought a report from the West Bengal government about alleged incidents of “post-election violence against opposition political workers in the state”.
Meanwhile, politicians hit out at the BJP for its decision to hold the dharna, when India was reporting an alarming rise in coronavirus cases. India on Tuesday registered 3,57,229 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 2,02,82,833 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The toll climbed by 3,449 to 2,22,408.
In a tweet, TMC leader Mahua Moitra warned Prime MInister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to not risk holding the dharna. “Indians may just hold nationwide dharna against death & devastation unleashed by your incompetence, she tweeted.
“Yes we need super spreader dharna events across the nation, because clearly, as per the BJP, the country hasn’t seen enough of a COVID surge, no?” tweeted Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asked BJP chief JP Nadda to accept that it has lost the elections in Bengal. “Even with help of the Election Commission and other agencies you were convincingly beaten,” Ramesh alleged. “At least focus on the nation’s health now. You are the ex-Health Minister.”