Mamata Banerjee injured: TMC, BJP leaders meet EC separately over 'attack'; Bengal CM discharged from hospital

Additionally, a delegation of the BJP, which included Union minister Piyush Goyal and party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, also met the EC in Delhi and demanded an independent inquiry into the incident

FP Staff March 12, 2021 23:02:29 IST
Mamata Banerjee injured: TMC, BJP leaders meet EC separately over 'attack'; Bengal CM discharged from hospital

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was discharged from the hospital on Friday. ANI

Delegations of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJP separately met the Election Commission in Delhi on Friday over the alleged attack on West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.

Banerjee had suffered severe injuries in her left ankle and foot and right shoulder, forearm and neck after she was allegedly pushed by some unidentified people on Wednesday evening while campaigning in Nandigram. Banerjee is contesting from Nandigram in the upcoming Assembly election against former aide and turncoat Suvendu Adhikari.

On Friday, the TMC, who took up the matter with the West Bengal EC soon after the incident, also met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in Delhi and demanded a "high-level" probe.

The six-member delegation met the full EC team, including Arora, for over an hour and submitted a memorandum claiming that BJP leaders in West Bengal had "threatened" the chief minister through tweets and other remarks.

Additionally, a delegation of the BJP, which included Union minister Piyush Goyal and party general secretary Bhupender Yadav, also met the EC in Delhi and demanded an independent inquiry into the incident.

Yadav said, "The party also requested the election commission to make public the video of Banerjee's rally in which she got injured."

The BJP leader said once a candidate files nomination, the poll panel maintains a visual record of his public engagements.

The saffron party also demanded that special observers be appointed for the Nandigram Assembly seat.

Meanwhile, Mamata was discharged from the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Friday evening after "responding well to treatment", according to the hospital.

Doctors took the decision after the 66-year-old TMC chief repeatedly requested them to discharge her from the medical establishment. Banerjee, seated on a wheelchair with her left foot plastered, greeted several party activists gathered outside the Woodburn Block of the hospital.

"Her condition has improved a lot and she repeatedly insisted to be discharged from the hospital. She will be able to move with restrictions but she needs to come back for another round of check-up within a week," the doctor said.

Mamata Banerjee's injuries are result of a 'conspiracy', says TMC

"Injuries to Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram were not a result of an unfortunate incident but that of a conspiracy. The events leading up to the attempt on her life leave no doubt that the attack was part of a deep-rooted conspiracy," TMC MP Saugata Roy told reporters after meeting the EC.

In the memorandum, the TMC has made allegations against Adhikari, who joined the BJP earlier in the year. Adhikari filed his nomination from Nandigram as a BJP candidate against Mamata.

"When an attempt was made on the life of Ms Banerjee, in which she was grievously hurt, to cover up the attack, eye-witnesses were planted, illustratively, eye-witnesses Chittaranjan Das and Debabrata Das, who testified that Ms Banerjee's car was hit against an iron pillar, are associates of Suvendu Adhikari, BJP candidate from Nandigram," the memorandum says.

The party said the BJP's state president Dilip Ghosh had uploaded a caricature depicting that she would be hit at Nandigram. Around the same time, numerous complaints were filed by the saffron party with the EC seeking immediate removal of the then police chief and IGP of West Bengal, it said.

The TMC also gave similar instances of other leaders.

"There is a clear nexus between the post by Dilip Ghosh on Facebook, multiple complaints seeking removal of DGP, the unilateral decision of the ECI to remove the erstwhile (police chief), the plan revealed by Saumitra Khan on Twitter, BJP's request to suspend/remove security personnel of Ms Banerjee, the resultant attempt on the life of Ms Banerjee and the cover-up of the same by Adhikari," the memorandum said.

The TMC delegation also handed over documents containing translated tweets of BJP leaders as well as photographs of Banerjee's car.

"The chairperson's car does not show even a scratch — clearly demolishing the lie that the vehicle hit an iron pillar on the road. In this context, we would also like to mention (that) the unfortunate comment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 'Brigade Cholo Rally' on 7 March, in which he had said 'If the scooty has decided to topple in Nandigram, what can we do?" the memorandum stated.

On Thursday, the party had written to the EC, criticising it for "failing to provide proper security" to the chief minister. The party had also accused the poll panel of "acting as per the BJP's orders".

However, the EC rebutted the allegations in a strongly-worded letter to the party, and said that it looks "undignified to even respond" to allegations that the poll panel is doing things in the state at the behest of a "particular party".

On Friday, TMC party workers also held "silent" protest rallies across the state. In Kolkata, silent rallies led by senior state ministers were taken out in Khidderpore, Behala and Gariahat areas. While minister Firhad Hakim was at the forefront of the Khidderpore protest rally, his senior cabinet colleague Partha Chatterjee led the one in Behala.

Ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Sobhandeb Chatterjee led the Gariahat protest rally.

The protestors covered their mouths with black cloth and hung small placards with the word 'Dhikkar' on their necks.  Similar protests were taken out at Nandigram.

At Barrackpore in neighbouring North 24 Parganas district, film personality-turned-Trinamool Congress candidate Raj Chakraborty led the procession. TMC had called for the protest from 3 pm to 5 pm in every block in the state during the day.

'EC might punish police personnel in charge of Mamata's security for lapse in Nandigram'

The Election Commission might punish police personnel in charge of Mamata Banerjee's security for the lapse leading to her injury during campaigning in Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district, PTI reported.

The ECI is waiting for reports from the state government and the two observers appointed for the upcoming Assembly elections before deciding on the punishment, the report said, quoting an EC official.

"There was definitely a lapse on the part of the police personnel who were in charge of the chief minister's security. Anyone shouldn't be able to penetrate the security circle around the chief minister. We are waiting for reports from the state government and the observers before taking a decision," the official said.

In video grabs accessed by the ECI, it was found that several people got very close to Mamata's vehicle during her campaign in Nandigram's Birulia Bazar on Wednesday.

"This should not have happened. In the video grabs that we have gone through, several people could be seen coming very close to the chief minister's vehicle. It was a serious security breach," he said.

The election official, however, said that the video footages were "not very clear to give a proper picture whether Banerjee was attacked as alleged by her. We are waiting for the reports from the state government and the two observers. We cannot disclose our opinion in this context," he said.

Meanwhile, officials of the Purba Medinipur district administration have spoken to several eyewitnesses of the incident, collected evidence from the site and gathered mobile phone footages, a senior official said.

"As of now, we are getting various versions from people about the incident," he said.

A senior state government official dismissed a buzz about the district administration submitting a "preliminary report" calling the incident an "accident". "Nothing of that sort has been submitted to us. We don't know from where this theory has developed," he said.

With inputs from PTI

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