Updated: March 11, 2021 1:44:07 am
The Congress Wednesday spoke in two voices on the alleged attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram after she filed her nomination papers.
While senior leader Anand Sharma said he was concerned over the attack and wished the Trinamool Congress chief a speedy recovery, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called Banerjee’s claim a “siyasi pakhand” (political hypocrisy).”
“This is nothing but siyasi pakhand. She is an expert in such siyasi pakhand. When she (Banerjee) has sensed that she is facing difficulties in Nandigram, she thought of such hypocrisy and drama. She is not just Mamata Banerjee..she is the Chief Minister as also the Home Minister.. but it is surprising that when she is attacked…there were no police personnel near her…can anybody believe that there were no police personnel present with Bengal’s Home Minister,” Chowdhury said.
“There is police everywhere in Nandigram. They have thrown a security cordon…And there are CCTV cameras everywhere where she is staying in Nandigram…and in that scenario…some 3-4 youths have managed to push her…and she has sustained injuries in the leg… can anybody believe it?” he asked.
Chowdhury then added that Banerjee is trying to gain people’s sympathy by indulging in such a “nautanki (drama)”.
Sharma, on the other hand, tweeted “Concerned over the physical attack on Mamata Banerjee ji and the injuries she has sustained. Hatred and violence are unacceptable in democracy and must be condemned. Wishing @MamataOfficial a speedy recovery.”
Sharma and Chowdhury had crossed swords recently, when the former questioned the Congress’s association with Indian Secular Front (ISF), a party formed in January by Abbas Siddiqui of the Furfura Sharif shrine in Bengal’s Hooghly district, saying the tie-up flew in the face of the core ideology of the Congress. Chowdhury did not take it lying down, saying Sharma’s criticism was “only serving the polarising agenda of BJP”.
Congress is fighting the Bengal polls in alliance with ISF and the Left. On Wednesday, Senior CPM leader Md Salim, without mentioning Mamata, tweeted, “staged Drama. So obvious.”
Senior Congress leaders Manish Tewari and Milind Deora condemned the attack. While Tewari said “violence has no place in politics”, Deora said it is “very unfortunate to see civility & safety being rapidly eroded, especially during election campaigns.”
Other opposition leaders too condemned the attack. “I strongly condemn the attack on Mamta Didi. Those responsible shud be immediately arrested and punished. I pray for her speedy recovery,” tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav called the attack “cowardly and despicable”. He said the West Bengal police is now “controlled by EC which is directed by BJP.” “Nation knows that people who have no belief in democracy can stoop to any level to vent their frustration of fighting a lost battle….Those behind this attack must not be spared,” he said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the attack on Banerjee was a matter of concern and demanded immediate setting up of a high-level committee to probe the incident.
BSP leader Kunwar Danish Ali said the incident has injured not Banerjee but the very spirit of a great democracy. “Law may not do much at this crucial juncture but the people of Bengal will definitely punish the perpetrators in a democratic manner,” he said.