Confusion was created amid West Bengal BJP’s march to the secretariat when its senior leader Dilip Ghosh, who was leading one of the processions, announced the Nabanna rally is over following a clash between the police and party workers and left the place. The BJP national vice-president made the statement when the police stopped the procession, which was moving towards state secretariat Nabanna’, near the Rabindra Setu, popularly known as Howrah bridge, connecting Kolkata and Howrah at around 2.30 pm.
The police used tear gas shells, water cannons, and batons to stop the saffron party supporters from advancing from the Kolkata side to Howrah where the state secretariat is located. The BJP has taken out three processions led by different leaders from separate places to Nabanna in protest against the alleged corrupt practices of the Trinamool Congress government.
When Ghosh’s comment Nabanna abhiyaan sesh (Nabanna rally is over) was conveyed to state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, he said, Dilip da’s procession might have been stopped and ended, but other processions are continuing. The police also stopped Majumdar’s rally and he sat down on the road in protest. He was later detained and taken away by the police.
Ghosh later said his comment was misconstrued by the media.
“As the police used brute force to stop the procession led by me near the Howrah bridge leaving many injured, I declared our march to Nabanna is over. I did not talk about other processions,” the former state BJP president said.
“While leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari and MP Locket Chatterjee were detained before the start of the rally, we and other leaders were very much on the ground and we are all united on the issue,” Ghosh said.
BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said Ghosh made the remark when the procession led by him from the College Square area was stopped by the police using force.
“As one senior leader was assigned to lead each rally from different points in Howrah and Kolkata, it was not possible for Dilip-da to continue the protest elsewhere. Nothing more should be read into it,” Bhattacharya said.
The TMC did not want to comment on the issue.
“The BJP’s Nabanna Abhiyaan proved to be a flop show. They wanted to be in news by ransacking, damaging and setting aflame state properties. But the alert police force did not allow the situation to flare up further and foiled the BJP’s game plan. There is nothing more to say about this,” TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
A police vehicle was set on fire, and several people – police personnel and BJP supporters – were injured during the protest rally.