WB Polls: BJP Workers Protest, Leaders Heckled Post Candidate List
Visuals from Hastings showed hundreds of people screaming, jostling and pushing barricades.
The Kolkata election office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday, 16 March, saw a mob of agitated party workers revolting against the BJP’s candidate list for the West Bengal Assembly elections. Senior leaders Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh and Shiv Prakash were heckled by protesters for fielding a high number of former Trinamool leaders as the party’s candidates.
Dramatic visuals from Hastings displayed hundreds of people, both men and women, screaming, jostling, pushing and kicking barricades, in an attempt to force their way into the BJP’s election office. Heavy police personnel was deployed to manage the escalating situation.
Several other BJP offices in the districts were also ransacked, NDTV reported.
The earliest protesters showed up in Panchla, Howrah, where they sat in a dharna with signage labelling BJP candidate Mohit Ghati as "characterless, drunkard".
They were later joined by protesters from Howrah’s Udaynarayanpur and in the evening, a swarm of people came in from Raidighi in South 24 Parganas.
The building accommodating the BJP offices was barricaded by the police, but the crowd continued to jostle and surge forward, trying to pull the barricades down and force themselves into the building.
In Hooghly district later in the day, angry BJP workers ransacked the party office at Singur and the BJP's headquarters at Chinsura district. Night visuals from Hooghly showed a group of people smashing windows and shouting in protest.
On Sunday, following sitting Trinamool MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya’s nomination, BJP workers locked the Madhya Pradesh education and health minister inside a shop in Singur, where he was meeting with party workers. He had to be rescued by the police after 4 hours.
A party office at Chinsura, where the BJP has fielded its sitting MP Locket Chatterjee, was also ransacked.
BJP leader Joy Banerjee said, “I am thinking of changing my platform,” NDTV reported,
BJP spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said that this is an unfortunate but a temporary situation, NDTV quoted.
Amid upcoming elections, in the past few months, a steady stream of TMC leaders have crossed over to the BJP. In view of this, the party’s candidate list for Bengal’s 294 seats was expected to be contentious.
TMC MP Mohua Moitra took to Twitter after the BJP released the names of over 60 candidates for the third and fourth phase of the polls. She said, "Loving this slow unfolding of the WB BJP Candidate List soap opera. When 'largest global political party' lacks enough faces & strength to announce 294 names in one go for a state it claims it will sweep!"
Bengal’s eight-phase elections will commence on 27 March and continue till 29 April. The counting of votes will be on 2 May 2021.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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