With more than 2,000 meetings and 5,000 posters over the past one month, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had big plans for its march to the state secretariat, the ‘Nabanna Cholo’ campaign, on Tuesday.
However, from Monday itself, it was clear that the police will not allow the BJP workers to go anywhere near the spot.
The Kolkata Police Commissioner and Howrah Police Commissioner had written to the BJP leaders that their rally was illegal. They had begun stopping BJP workers, with heavy police deployment and barricades in front of the Howrah Bridge on the Hooghly River.
Various Nabanna workers had to walk towards their office as the secretariat turned into a fortress with even drones being deployed for monitoring.
This protest or abhijan was planned as the BJP’s opportunity to show their strength on ground before the Panchayat elections. Sources say clear instructions were given to workers that come what may, wherever the police stop BJP workers, they should sit on dharnas.
As the day began, it was a clear call for war – the BJP versus the Trinamool Congress-led administration.
Three rallies were to be headed by BJP’s Suvendu Adhikary. However, around 12.30 pm, Suvendu Adhikary, Locket Chatterjee and Rahul Sinha were detained. Women police officers tried to take in Adhikary, but he reacted: “Don’t touch me. I am a member of security commission, why will you not allow me? Is CM Mamata Banerjee afraid? You can’t stop me. I will move the High Court.”
He was taken into police custody and was taken to Lalbazar. Sitting in Lalbazar, Adhikary said: “I would request all workers not to fall into the trap.”
As Adhikary was stopped, the focus shifted to Dilip Ghosh and Sukanto Majumdar, who were supposed to lead other rallies.
People with various posters of TMC ministers followed him, amid stone-pelting and tear gas shelling.
Also, #SuvenduAdhikari released form detention, listen in
— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 13, 2022
A police car was set on fire on MG Road, even as Swapan Dasgupta got injured, and Meena Devi Purohit, former deputy mayor of Kolkata, got severely injured. She had to be hospitalised. An ACP was injured in front of Lalbazar, another team of the BJP went, but they too were detained.
Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP’s National Information & Technology Dept and co-in-charge, West Bengal, tweeted: “Mamata Banerjee sent TMC cadres to pelt stones at the police so that later BJP could be blamed for it…”
Senior @BJP4Bengal Leader Smt Meena Devi Purohit, former Deputy Mayor, Kolkata Municipal Corporation has been brutalized by WB Police.
Isn’t she ‘Banglar Mey’??
— Raju Bista (@RajuBistaBJP) September 13, 2022
Meanwhile, the TMC tweeted: “A bunch of rioters and hooligans who neither understand peaceful protest, nor allow peaceful coexistence. We condemn this brazen attempt to destroy public peace and damage to Government property. Mamata Banerjee who is in Medinipur for administrative meeting stated that BJP did not have people in rally.”
HYPOCRISY OF @BJP4India EXPOSED!
Is this what our police personnel deserve?
They go out of their way for protecting people – come rain or shine! They keep us safe at all times.
On other days 👇 pic.twitter.com/FM1cHMxRa1
Kunal Ghosh, General Secretary, TMC, said, “It’s a flop show of the BJP, they had big conspiracy, they wanted to create disturbance, but police did a great job.”
Funny how AT LEAST 15 @BJP4Bengal leaders said this line AT LEAST 30 TIMES in the past.
Every day seems to be the “beginning of the end for TMC”. Yet, in every election, people of Bengal bid a BIG FAT SLAP-ON-YOUR-FACE GOODBYE to BJP.
Hire a better person to draft your tweets! https://t.co/IgJw4pNVAl
— Kunal Ghosh (@KunalGhoshAgain) September 13, 2022
Sukanto Majumdar, on the other hand, said: “I salute the courage and high spirit of our @BJYM Karyakartas, who have put a great protest along with people of West Bengal. Our fight against TMC will continue till we oust TMC govt.”
I salute the courage and high spirit of our @BJYM Karyakartas, who have put a great protest along with people of West Bengal.
— Dr. Sukanta Majumdar (@DrSukantaBJP) September 13, 2022
The TMC gave the administration full marks, as they stopped the BJP everywhere. The BJP thanked its workers, as they succeeded in re-energising the cadre.
COMMON MAN SUFFERS
Amid all this, where was common man?
Most of the roads in an around main Kolkata were diverted and people could not reach their destinations. Mihir Roy, 64, who works in Nabanna, told News18: “See, I have to walk and reach my office, I don’t have a choice. I am not a politician. I have no interest in all this, but I am facing a problem.”
When a car was torched by protestors, citizens were scared. Nilima Roy, a resident of this area, told News18: “Nobody knows how these things turn ugly. It is frightening.”
Meanwhile, most living in an around Kolkata kept answering frantic calls from concerned relatives.