Two activists of the 'No Vote to BJP' campaign were heckled by alleged pro-BJP goons at the Indian Coffee House in Kolkata on Monday, 15 March.
The campaign posters were also painted over by a group of people clad in saffron t-shirts with ‘Modi-para’ written on them.
Madhurima Bakshi, one of the two activists allegedly heckled, told The Quint that she was at the coffee house with a few of her 'comrades' around 4-4:30 pm on Monday, when she noticed people wearing saffron t-shirts gathering at the tables around them. BJP MLA Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga was also reportedly present there.
Soon after, she was informed that these ‘goons’ were painting over their ‘No Vote to BJP’ posters.
She saw that the ‘goons’ were using black paint to paint over the 'No' in 'No Vote to BJP'.
Bakshi says that when she tried protesting against the act, those in saffron t-shirts gathered and started heckling her and her friend Sucheta De. A video recording of the incident shows one of the parties saying, “You protest in your way, this is our way of protesting.”
When her friends gathered around her to raise slogans against the alleged goons, the other party too retaliated using slogans like ‘Vande Mataram’, 'Jai Shree Ram' and ‘Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi’. They left after some time. Bakshi claims that even Bagga had left by then.
What Is the ‘No Vote to BJP’ Campaign?
‘No Vote to BJP’ is a campaign formulated by a forum called ‘Bengal Against Fascist RSS-BJP’ consisting of people associated with various mass and social movements with the intention of “defeating the BJP not only electorally but also on the streets.”
Born at a meeting on 4 January, its members have been campaigning across various constituencies in Bengal with the intention of ‘spreading awareness against the BJP’ and requesting people not to vote for them. They have even set up committees in over 15 districts.