BJP offices, workers attacked as TMC takes to streets

BJP offices, workers attacked as TMC takes to streets
 From Kolkata to New Delhi to Bhubaneshwar, TMC MPs, leaders and workers held protests against yesterday's arrest of their MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay as alleged workers of West Bengal's ruling party attacked BJP offices, hurling bombs and setting them on fire.

Furious over the arrest of Bandyopadhyay, TMC leader in the Lok Sabha and a close Mamata Banerjee aide, party workers also demonstrated in front of CBI offices in Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar, where the MP was taken for production in a court after his arrest.

A BJP delegation met West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi and petitioned him for imposition of President's rule in the state due to deteriorating law and order situation.

TMC MPs attempted a protest march to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence in the national capital but were detained mid way.

"We are protesting against Bandyopadhyay's arrest, demanding Modi's resignation and inquiry into his taking money from Birla and Sahara groups. We are also demanding Babul Supriyo (Union Minister) for his involvement in the Rose Valley scam case," TMC MP Sugata Roy told reporters at Tughlak Road police station where they were under detention.

"We were marching peacefully towards the Prime Minister's residence, but the police detained us mid-way and manhandled few of our MPs," Roy said, adding 36 TMC MPs took part in the protest march. They were let off in the evening.

Bandyopadhyay, TMC's face in New Delhi, was the second party MP after actor-turned-politician Tapas Pal to be held in connection with the alleged Rs 15,000 crore chit fund scam which spanned several states including West Bengal and Odisha.

Hours after alleged TMC workers vandalised the state BJP headquarters in downtown Kolkata last evening, they attacked the house of state party general secretary Krishna Bhattacharya in Hooghly district.

Three men with their faces covered came on a motorcycle to her house in Konnanagar Jorapukur Ghat at 9 last night and started hurling bombs, Bhattacharya said.

They barged into the house, abused her, smashed a windowpane, damaged furniture and assaulted her, Bhattacharya said in her police complaint.

In another incident at Chinsurah in Hooghly district, alleged TMC workers set on fire a BJP office.

A police officer said some miscreants set ablaze the Chinsurah Mandal office of the BJP this evening after beating up two party workers and chasing them away.

"Our party offices have been ransacked throughout the state. Bombs have been hurled at homes of various party leaders. The police is just a mute spectator," BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.

BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya held out a veiled threat to TMC to "mend its ways or face consequences" and wondered if Mamata Banerjee and her MPs would be able to go around the country or enter New Delhi if his party began a protest against them.

"We may not be as strong as TMC in Bengal. But in the entire country we are the strongest political force. I wonder if BJP workers in Delhi decide that TMC MPs would not be allowed to enter Delhi, would they be able to enter Delhi?

"The answer is no. If BJP workers decide to protest across the country, would Mamata Banerjee be able to roam the country freely? If TMC doesn't mend its ways, we will also not sit silently," Vijyavargiya, who is also BJP observer in-charge of West Bengal, told reporters in Kolkata.

Vijayvargiya lashed out at Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for allegedly turning a "blind eye" to the attack on BJP offices.

He urged the CBI to investigate the alleged role of Kumar in "wiping out" evidence against TMC leaders in the chit fund scam during his tenure as the head of the state government- formed SIT.

"Is this is a democracy? Is this is a sign of law and order? For five hours, hundreds of TMC activists surrounded the BJP office and pelted stones, injured the workers, and police remained a mute spectator. Why is BJP being targeted? BJP has no role in the CBI investigation, it is taking place under the orders of Supreme Court," he said.

Vijayvargiya warned police officials to work impartially or else they will face the music if BJP comes to power in next Assembly elections.

"The CBI is investigating the case under the instructions of Supreme Court following Abdul Manan's appeal to the apex court. Then how come BJP is accused of vendetta politics. You can oppose demonetisation as long as you want, you have this democratic right. But why are BJP workers being beaten up and our party offices are being attacked?" he asked.

Vijayvargiya asked Congress President Sonia Gandhi to make clear her stand on the ponzi scam and wondered why her party was rallying behind TMC on the issue as the Supreme Court has ordered a CBI inquiry into it based on an appeal by Congress leader Abdul Manan.

"Sonia Gandhi should clear her party's stand on the ponzi scams in Bengal. Because we are confused by the statements of Congress leadership. Yesterday, the Congress had said that the CBI arrests are nothing but vendetta politics of BJP. But the CBI is investigating the case under instructions of Supreme Court following Congress leader and now leader of opposition Abdul Manan's appeal to Supreme court," he said.

TMC workers took to the streets in various parts of West Bengal to protest the arrest of Bandyopadhyay and staged a demonstration in front of Union Minister Babul Supriyo's house in Kolkata demanding his arrest.

Supriyo alleged TMC activists burnt BJP flag in front of the housing society he had a flat in and questioned the role of the police in maintaining law and order.

"My parents and other residents are scared. Let Didi (Mamata Banerjee) give proof of my involvement in the Rose Valley scam, I will be arrested", he said.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh led a party delegation to Raj Bhavan and apprised the Governor of the attack on its offices.

The delegation urged Governor K N Tripathi to send a report to the Centre recommending imposition of President's Rule in view of "growing lawlessness" in the state.

"It is unthinkable. We did not expect this. Our party office was attacked at different places including Hooghly and Durgapur. Babul Supriyo's house was attacked. We are concerned. It should stop", he said. A senior official of West Bengal police said they are looking into the complaints.

Congress, which has warmed up to TMC following demonetisation, questioned the timing of the arrest of Pal and Bandyopadhyay.

"We are questioning the timing of the arrests. For more than a year the CBI was silent, but all of a sudden it has become active when the opposition is getting united on the issue of demonetisation. This is an attempt to break the unity of the opposition on the issue of demonetisation," Congress general secretary C P Joshi told reporters in Kolkata.

Congress had yesterday alleged Bandyopadhyay's arrest by the CBI was "vendetta unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his detractors" and wondered if it was in reaction to the "opposition unity".

When asked why Congress was backing TMC on the issue of the arrests when it was its own leader Abdul Mannan's petition which had led to institution of a CBI probe into the chit fund scam, Joshi parried a reply, saying "The matter is sub-judice, so it won't be right to comment on the matter."

As for Mannan, he said,"Demonetisation is an issue of 125 crore people of India. All opposition parties have united on this issue. But, the chit fund is an issue of two crore people. So you need to prioritise."

A four-time Lok Sabha member and Minister of State in the Manmohan Singh government, Bandyopadhyay was arrested after he allegedly failed to give satisfactory answers to many questions and was found to be uncooperative. He is alleged to have received favours from the Rose Valley group which funded his foreign trips. Tapas Pal was a director in two group companies.

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