Kolkata: Bengali polymath Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue was vandalised during two rounds of violent clashes, including arson, between Trinamul and BJP supporters, marring BJP president Amit Shah’s mega roadshow in central Kolkata on Tuesday evening.
The area turned into a war zone instantly with both sides engaged in a street-fight. The second round of clash unfolded at around 6.45 pm when the roadshow was near Vidyasagar College (New Campus) at 17 Bidhan Sarani in Amherst Street area.
Violence erupted after stones were pelted on the procession allegedly by Trinamul supporters from the college campus.
In retaliation, BJP workers torched two motorbikes and a cycle. Storming the college with sticks and rods, they went on the rampage and triggered arson. Shards of broken glass littered the lobby of the college where a bust of Vidyasagar, a noted philosopher and a key figure of Bengal Renaissance, was smashed to smithreens.
Lambasting Mr Shah, Ms Banerjee said, “Each vote against the BJP will be revenge for attack on Vidyasagar’s statue. Mr Shah brought people from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in his rally. The BJP workers broke Vidyasagar’s statue to pieces. Such a shameful incident never happened in Kolkata earlier, not even during the Naxalites’ time. It will take a second to take over the BJP office if we want.”
Calling Mr Shah a “goonda”, she earlier told a rally in Behala in the city, “If you lay your hands on Vidyasagar, what will I call you other than a goonda.”
She also asked if Amit Shah was a God that no one can protest against him.
“What does Amit Shah think of himself? Is he above everything? Is he God that no one can protest against him?” Ms Banerjee told reporters after visiting the Vidyasagar College in north Kolkata.
“They are so uncultured that they have broken the bust of Vidyasagar. They are all outsiders. They BJP had brought them to be used on the day of polls,” she said.
Countering the TMC chief, Mr Shah said, “There was an attempt by TMC hooligans to attack me. Mamata Banerjee tried to provoke violence. But I am safe.”
The BJP president said, “I appeal to the people of Bengal to give their reply to violence through their votes peacefully in the last phase of the election. Defeating the Trinamul is necessary to end violence in Bengal forever.
In a rare charge of bias against the EC, the BJP president said, “History-sheeters are arrested across the country but in Bengal the EC has turned a blind eye to the Trinamul. If the EC has to maintain its establishment, it has to order the arrest of the goons roaming freely.”
The Trinamul alleged that the BJP brought “outsiders” for his road show in Kolkata who were responsible for the violence.
She alleged that the BJP is transporting money in CRPF vehicles for distribution among people of the state.
Before the clashing mobs took over the streets of central Kolkata, Mr Shah led a saffron surge in parts of the city as chants of “Jai Shri Ram, Jai Jai Shri Ram” alternated with frenzied chorus of “Modi, Modi”.
Clad in a kurta-pyjama ensemble and a pink Modi jacket to boot, Mr Shah smiled broadly from atop an open roof vehicle, waving at people and thrusting a clenched fist into the air while a massive crowd followed him in the BJP’s show of strength five days before the final phase of general election....