Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Samik Bhattacharya and Mukul Roy were allegedly surrounded by a mob which also vandalised their cars in the Nagerbazar area of Kolkata late on Thursday, say reports.
BJP has alleged that the mob comprised workers of Trinamool Congress. The TMC has in turn said that locals were agitated upon seeing Bhattacharya, the party's candidate for the Dumdum seat which goes to polls on Sunday, and Roy enter a guesthouse for what they believed was to seal a cash-for-votes deal.
Veteran CPM leader Paltu Dasgupta was allegedly present in the guesthouse too, reported the Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika. TMC workers gheraoing the politicians were allegedly joined by locals who began vandalising the cars. Police, who arrived at the venue, had to resort to lathicharge to bring the violence under control. Central forces too reached the area to stop the situation from spiraling.
The news report has quoted senior TMC leader Jyotipriya Mallick as having said that the guesthouse where the three politicians were seen has become a venue for brokering such deals. BJP leader Jayprakash Majumdar has denied the charge, as has the CPM whose leader Palash Das "promised to take further action if the claims are proven to be true."
According to 101Reporters, however, Roy, a one time TMC bigwig, had visited Dumdum to attend the birthday party thrown by his assistant Raju Sarkar. Raju is incidentally Dasgupta's nephew, which could alternatively account for the CPM leader's presence at the room.
Dumdum played host to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, late on Thursday, amid heightened tensions between BJP and TMC which have both complained of violence throughout the polls. The violence in Bengal rose to a crescendo on 14 May, when at BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, a mob vandalised a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.
This is not the first time that BJP has accused TMC of attacking its leaders in Bengal. On 14 May, Roy had alleged that a similar meeting between BJP's Arvind Menon, himself and a few others at Barasat had ended with TMC candidate Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and a posse attacking the cars parked outside. Kakoli, then, had alleged that the leaders had been engaged in distributing cash for votes.
#WestBengal- BJP leader Mukul Roy in Barasat, yesterday: BJP's Arvind Menon was holding a meeting with few leaders in Barasat. Few people led by Kakoli (TMC candidate) came there and attacked the cars parked outside. There is no democracy in this state. pic.twitter.com/1I0aDAj35G
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2019
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Updated Date: May 17, 2019 09:13:52 IST