Amid a blame game between TMC and BJP over the destruction of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s bust in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s roadshow, TMC leader Derek O’Brien on Wednesday released a video, claiming that “BJP goons” damaged the statue of the 19th-century philosopher.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Derek O’Brien said, “The students were on a democratic protest with black placards. Goons of Amit Shah from outside Bengal orchestrated the violence. The video establishes Amit Shah is a liar.”
Derek O’Brien also showed an image of a WhatsApp message asking people to come to Amit Shah’s roadshow with rods and arms to fight the TMC and police. “The streets of Kolkata tinged with shock and anger. What happened yesterday hurt Bengali pride,” he said.
The TMC leader also said the party would show the videos to the Election Commission and was authenticating them on record. “We are trying to obtain and authenticate audio of slogans like ‘Vidyasagar finished, where is the Josh’ raised during the violence,” O’Brien said.
TMC’s response came close on the heels of a press conference by Amit Shah, who accused the TMC of desecrating the bust of Pandit Vidyasagar. “The idol of Vidyasagar is kept inside the college room. The room was locked, so who had the key? It is the TMC that has captured the college. Destroying the statue of the great educationist for vote bank politics and sympathy shows that countdown of TMC has begun,” he said.
Retorting to Shah’s charge, O’Brien said, “The BJP is trying to justify the act. They are giving excuses like the gate was locked. Amit Shah is a con master.”
The Rajya Sabha MP also alleged that Central forces in West Bengal had started a whisper campaign asking people to vote for the BJP.
“We have nothing personally against the Central forces. We have two startling pictures to expose what we have been saying that they are in cahoots with BJP in Bengal. BJP candidates are entering polling booths accompanied by Central forces. They are coercing people to vote for the BJP,” he said.
Campaigning for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal took a violent turn on Tuesday as bottles, bricks and stones flew freely and a bust of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was destroyed in pitched battles between the BJP and TMC student wing workers on the streets of Kolkata during BJP president Amit Shah’s roadshow in the city.
The clashes outside University of Calcutta’s College Street campus and Vidyasagar College on Bidhan Sarani left several injured.