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‘Assaulted’, Dilip Ghosh cuts short Bhabanipur bypoll campaign; EC seeks report

West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar claimed that Ghosh was “ kicked, pushed and heckled” by TMC supporters. A BJP worker was also injured after a scuffle broke out between the two rival groups near Jadu Babur Bazar.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: September 28, 2021 7:11:30 am
Dilip Ghosh faces protests in Bhabanipur constituency. (Photo: Videograb/Twitter@Dilip Ghosh)

BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh was Monday forced to cut short his door-to-door campaigning for the Bhabanipur Assembly bypoll after protests against him by TMC supporters allegedly turned violent.

After the incident, Ghosh demanded that the September 30 by-poll be postponed till the situation has normalised, while the Election Commission (EC) sought a report from the state government on the incident.

West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar claimed that Ghosh was “kicked, pushed and heckled” by TMC supporters. A BJP worker was also injured after a scuffle broke out between the two rival groups near Jadu Babur Bazar.

On Monday, the last day of campaigning, the BJP deployed a large group of party leaders in Bhabanipur, including Ghosh, in support of party candidate Priyanka Tibrewal, who is contesting the bypoll against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A large number of TMC workers and supporters raised slogans against Ghosh and asked him to go back. Soon a scuffle broke out among TMC workers, BJP workers and security guards of Ghosh. At one point, Ghosh’s security guards were seen brandishing service revolvers to scare the mob away. Seeing the situation getting out of control, Ghosh retreated and asked his workers to follow him.

However, BJP worker Bhab Narayan Singh, who was accompanying Ghosh, was allegedly caught by TMC workers and thrashed. He was seen bleeding from his head but continued to raise slogans against the TMC. Later Ghosh left the area and his party workers took him to SSKM Hospital for treatment.

Speaking about the incident, Ghosh said, “You can see there is no security for us when conducting door-to-door campaigning. They broke the forehead of our worker and even kicked me as well. I don’t know how the bypoll would be held under these circumstances. Where is democracy? We will lodge a complaint with the Election Commission. But I don’t know how will people cast their votes.”

Ghosh, who was recently removed from the post of the Bengal BJP chief and appointed the party’s national vice president, later addressed the media where he demanded deferment of the by-poll in Bhabanipur claiming that the situation is not favourable to hold an election.

“The TMC has got scared. They are resorting to violence to stop us. After today’s incident, I don’t think a free and fair election is possible in Bhabanipur. Therefore this election must be suspended for now. It should be held at a time when people will be able to cast their votes without fear and Opposition parties will be allowed to campaign without any untoward incident,” said Ghosh.

He also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Division), Akash Magharia, and demanded that the officer be immediately removed from the poll duty.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission also sought a report from the state government on this incident to be submitted latest by evening.

Earlier in the day, BJP MP Arjun Singh too faced protests from TMC supporters during campaigning. Locals raised ‘go back’ slogans against him when he was campaigning near Shambhunath Pandit Hospital.

State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said, “There is no democracy in West Bengal. This is not healthy in a democratic system. The situation in Bhabanipur is dangerous. Today our national vice-president was kicked, pushed and heckled. They didn’t even consider his age. The TMC is bringing in a culture of violence in the state which goes against the real culture of Bengal. When TMC leaders visit Delhi, we don’t raise slogans against them. This is the culture of BJP.”

Countering their allegations, senior TMC leader and party MP, Saugata Roy said, “Some people were raising Joy Bangla slogans against Dilip Ghosh. It was a spontaneous protest because he had made several derogatory statements against Mamata Banerjee earlier.

“People were angry at him and they expressed it today. But his security guards brandished their pistols on such people and Dilip Ghosh retreated by saying Jai Shri Ram. They wanted to highlight this incident. Dilip Ghosh provoked his security guards to brandish weapons. We do not support such protests. But Dilip Ghosh should have restrained himself from making controversial remarks against Mamata Banerjee.”

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