Updated: March 13, 2021 7:50:13 am
Two days after Mamata Banerjee was injured while campaigning in Nandigram, the Trinamool Congress doubled down on allegations that she was attacked, calling it a “premeditated” attempt on her life and “part of a deep-rooted conspiracy”.
In a petition submitted by six party MPs to the Election Commission in New Delhi on Friday — the second petition in three days; the first was submitted in Kolkata on Wednesday — the TMC alleged the attack on Mamata was orchestrated through social media comments by BJP leaders, the removal of the director-general of the state police, and the “planting of eyewitnesses”.
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The West Bengal Chief Minister was, meanwhile, discharged from Kolkata’s SSKM Hospital on Friday evening.
In their letter to the EC, the six TMC MPs including senior leaders Prof Sougata Ray, Derek O’Brien, and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, said: “An attempt was made on the life of our chairperson, Ms Mamata Banerjee, on March 10, 2021 at Nandigram, though the perpetrators failed in their vicious attempt. The events/actions leading up to the attempt on her life, leave no doubt that the attack was premeditated and part of a deep rooted conspiracy.”
Later in the afternoon, a BJP delegation led by Union Minister Piyush Goyal and party general secretary Bhupender Yadav also met EC officials and demanded an independent inquiry.
Yadav said that they had asked the EC to make the video of the incident public, and that the BJP had asked for special observers to be appointed for the high-profile seat of Nandigram, which will see a contest between Mamata and her lieutenant-turned-BJP-leader Suvendu Adhikari.
Making the case for the alleged conspiracy, the TMC letter stated that “On 8 March 2021, Dilip Ghosh of the state BJP made a post on his Facebook page with a caricature of Ms Banerjee depicting she would be hit at Nandigram. Around the same time, numerous complaints were filed by the BJP with the ECI seeking immediate removal of the erstwhile DGP and IGP. Almost immediately and unilaterally, on 9 March 2021, in an abrupt decision, without consultation with the state government, the ECI removed the erstwhile DGP.”
According to the letter, “later that night at 3:27 am”, BJP MP Saumitra Khan replied to a tweet by another MP, Babul Supriyo, saying, “kal theke bujhte parbe, bikel panchta’r por” (you will come to know after 5 pm tomorrow)”.
This, according to the TMC, “clearly indicates that something grave was planned and was in the offing beyond 5 pm at Nandigram on 10 March 2021”.
The complaint also mentions Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and says that his comment at an election rally in Kolkata, “lekin jab scooty ne Nandigram mein girna taye kiya hai toh hum kya karein (what can we do if the scooty — a reference of Mamata’s ride on an electric scooter to protest the high prices of petrol and diesel — has decided to topple in Nandigram)”, was unfortunate.
The TMC has alleged that Suvendu Adhikari, who is now her BJP opponent in Nandigram, “planted eyewitnesses”.
“To cover up the attack, eyewitnesses were planted. Illustratively eyewitnesses 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. With one he is seen publicly and with the latter, he is seen enjoying a meal at the latter’s house. The enclosed photos of our chairperson’s car show not even a scratch, clearly demolishing the lie that the vehicle hit an iron pillar on the road,” the complaint says.
Sougata Ray told reporters outside the Election Commission office that the TMC had demanded a full, high-level inquiry into the incident. He also said that while TMC supporters were agitated, following the Chief Minister’s call for calm, there were “silent protests” all over the state.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission, which had asked the West Bengal Chief Secretary, as well as its general observer and special police observer for a report on the alleged attack on Mamata, extended the deadline for the latter by another day.
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