The assembly election in West Bengal is months away but political slugfest in the state is already boiling. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda's convoy was pelted with stones and bricks while he was on his way to Diamond Harbour on Thursday. Several vehicles, including those of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and party's Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh. Vijayvargiya and a few other BJP workers suffered injuries in the incident which triggered a war of words between the saffron party and Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.
While the BJP top brass demanded immediate and strict action against those involved in the attack, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought to waterdown the controversy and instead accused the BJP of vitiating the atmosphere of the state.
'Why are they so scared?'
Responding to BJP's charge that violence has been institutionalised in Bengal, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said it was the saffron party workers who are coming to rallies with arms. She raised questions over the attack and even went on to accuse the BJP of spreading lies. "The attack might have been planned, I have asked Police to investigate but I won't put up with lies all the time," she said.
"They (BJP activists) are coming out (for rallies) with arms every day. They are slapping themselves and blaming it on the Trinamool Congress. Just think of the situation. They are roaming around with the BSF, CRPF, Army and the CISF (personnel). Why are they so scared?" Banerjee said.
She also attacked the BJP for allegedly spreading canards about her party.
"They are saying that lawlessness prevails in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. I ask you whether you areunable to go out in the streets. They are also saying that there is no food, no health (infrastructure)," the chief minister said.
Home Ministry seeks report
Soon after the attack on Nadda's convoy, the Union Home Ministry held by Amit Shah sought a detailed report from the West Bengal government over the incident.
The Ministry, in a written message to the state Chief Secretary, has asked to submit the report about the issue and lapses in law and order in the state that may lead to the risk for senior BJP leaders camping in the state ahead of the assembly elections that is just six months away, said sources privy to the development.
Amit Shah, in a series of tweets, condemned the attack on his party president and said that Bengal has gone into an era of "tyranny, anarchy and darkness under the Trinamool rule".
WATCH VIDEO OF ATTACK ON JP NADDA
Governor Dhankhar steps in
Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also express concerns over the violence, and sought a detailed report from the CM office and the state police.
"Concerned at alarming reports of anarchy and lawlessness @MamataOfficial indicating ruling party harmads on rampage at BJP President Convoy and political police @WBPolice in support. This happening inspite of my alerts to CS & DGP early morning indicated collapse of law & order," Governor Dhankhar said in his tweet.
BJP leaders slam Mamata
Looking at today's situation, President's rule should be immediately imposed in West Bengal: BJP leader Mukul Roy
Stone pelted on Naddaji's car will prove to be the last nail on TMC's coffin in West Bengal. Neither Bengal nor the country will tolerate this. Fearing failure, Mamata Banerjee facilitated this attack. It won't scare BJP: Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan
This was a pre-planned attack, the police were helping the protestors. Many BJP workers have been injured. There is no democracy in West Bengal: BJP leader Anupam Hazra at South 24 Paraganas
I have been injured in this attack. The party president's car was also attacked. We strongly condemn it. In the presence of police, goons attacked us. It felt as if we were not in our own country: BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya at South 24 Paraganas
(With inputs from agencies)