Minister's convoy attacked in Bengal

Trinamool Congress supporters on Tuesday allegedly hurled bombs at the vehicle of Abu Hashem Khan Chowdhury, Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare.

Chowdhury was campaigning for Congress candidates in the ongoing panchayat polls at Kaliachawk in Malda, his home district, when a few bombs exploded close to his vehicle. His driver and security personnel managed to whisk him away from the spot. While Chowdhury is said to have recovered from the shock by evening, senior Congress leaders alleged that the attack was a work of anti-socials affiliated to the Trinamool Congress.

“The Congress has never indulged in such acts. All anti-socials who were earlier with the CPM have now sided with Trinamool. The operation was conducted under the leadership of a notorious anti-social known to be close to Trinamool leaders from the district,” alleged Deepa Das Munshi, Union Minister of State for Urban Development.

Calling Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee a “fascist” in her trademark rhetoric, Dasmunshi further said the attack proved that the Trinamool Congress has lost its nerve.“They have taken to intimidation to make the Congress candidates stay away from campaigning,” she said.

“Ï have spoken to Chowdhury and he is fine. The attack is a disgraceful act, more so because Chowdhury is known to be a gentleman. The district is a Congress stronghold and that makes Trinamool uncomfortable and unsure of itself. They know we will win most seats in the district,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Union Minister of State for Railways.

Pradip Bhattacharya, state president of the Congress, told reporters in Kolkata that such attacks are intended to prevent his party from campaigning peacefully. Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury, who defected to the Trinamool Congress last year and retained his English Bazaar Assembly seat, adjacent to Kaliachawk, said the Congress is trying to malign the Trinamool Congress.

Chowdhury, the Congress MP from the Malda South Lok Sabha constituency, has filed a complaint with the Kaliachawk police station. He wrote in his complaint that while he was campaigning, bombs were hurled on his convoy from a nearby mango orchard. Inspector General (Law & Order) Anuj Sharma, however, told reporters that neither bombs were hurled nor shots were fired.

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