Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 'Sandeshkhali protester' BJP candidate Rekha Patra alleges heckling by TMC workers

The TMC dismissed the allegations and charged the BJP with assaulting supporters of the ruling party in the state.
Last Updated : 30 April 2024, 10:10 IST
Last Updated : 30 April 2024, 10:10 IST

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Kolkata: West Bengal's Basirhat Lok Sabha seat BJP candidate Rekha Patra, who is the face of Sandeshkhali protests, on Tuesday alleged that she was heckled by TMC workers during campaigning.

The Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, dismissed the allegations and charged the BJP with assaulting supporters of the ruling party in the state.

The alleged incident took place in the afternoon when BJP activists were campaigning in the Kharidanga panchayat area in Basirhat Lok Sabha seat, of which Sandeskhali is also a part.

"When we were campaigning, all of a sudden, TMC activists attacked us. They pushed me and hit other party workers," Patra told reporters.

BJP IT cell chief and co-in-charge of West Bengal, Amit Malviya, alleged that the incident reflects the desperation of the TMC.

"The desperation of TMC after scoring ducks in the first 2 phases, knows no bounds. After being exposed in the Supreme Court, for protecting Sheikh Shahjahan, instead of victims of #Sandeshkhali, TMC Kharidanga Panchayat Pradhan Samir Bachar along with Civic Volunteer (contractual police of Bengal) Bablu Bachar, hit Rekha Patra, face of Sandeshkhali protests and BJP candidate from Basirhat, with sticks. while she was campaigning," he posted on X.

"Mamata Banerjee should be ashamed of her crass misogynistic politics. @NCWIndia and @India_NHRC must take cognizance of the diminishing civil and political liberties in West Bengal. BJP hit the street in protest," Malviya added.

The BJP activists later staged a sit-in in the area to protest the incident.

The BJP's state unit condemned the incident, terming it a "shocking display of misogyny", and claimed that the "TMC's desperation has reached a new fever pitch after sensing defeat in the first two phases".

In its X handle, the state BJP posted, "Mamata Banerjee's regime, built on a foundation of violence and oppression, now stands exposed for its brutality. In a shocking display of misogyny, TMC leaders shamelessly targeted Rekha Patra, the courageous voice of Sandeshkhali protests and a BJP candidate from Basirhat. This vicious attack not only targets a political opponent but also strikes at the heart of democracy. Mamata Banerjee's craven political tactics deserve the strongest condemnation."

On the other hand, Sandeshkhali TMC MLA Sukumar Mahata dubbed the allegations as baseless, alleging, "It was the BJP activists who beat up TMC workers. They want to vitiate the atmosphere of the area before elections."

The Trinamool Congress also took to social media to criticise the BJP for "stoking violence".

"Violence + Bangla-Birodhi Mindset + Lies = @BJP4India's poll strategy here. When BJP used its LS Candidate Rekha Patra this morning to stoke violence, the locals objected to her provocative statements to maintain peace. This is the power of Bengal that resists all threats to our unity & diversity," the party posted on X along with a purported video of the incident.

Sandeshkhali hogged the national limelight in February this year after protests rocked the area when allegations of sexual abuse of women by local TMC leaders came to the fore.

Published 30 April 2024, 10:10 IST

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