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Tejasvi Surya leads BJP charge in Bengal, calls Mamata govt ‘fascist’ at Kolkata rally

Trinamool Congress hits back at BJP, says it's a violent party that organises rallies led by goons, hooligans with firearms and bricks.

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Kolkata: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya Thursday attacked the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, calling her administration the “worst and most apt example of fascist government”, and said the days of the ruling Trinamool Congress are numbered.

Surya, the newly appointed president of the BJP youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), led a rally of thousands of BJP workers from Howrah as part of the BJYM’s ‘Nabanna Chalo’ (let’s go to Nabanna) march. This was the Bengaluru MP’s first protest rally outside his home state Karnataka.

Senior BJP leaders, including national general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya, national vice-president Mukul Roy, state president Dilip Ghosh, MPs Locket Chatterjee, Nisith Pramanik, Soumitra Khan, Arjun Singh also led several rallies to Nabanna, the state secretariat.

The marches, which were organised to protest the killing of BJP workers, political violence and unemployment, brought parts of Kolkata and adjoining Howrah district to a standstill as police stopped them, leading to clashes with BJP workers.

The rallies come days after a BJP member was shot in Barrackpore, around 20 km from Kolkata. 

While the Bengal government claimed several policemen sustained critical injuries in the clashes, Surya claimed 1,000 BJP workers were injured.

The state government had earlier refused permission for the rallies in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government Wednesday also said Nabanna would remain shut Thursday and Friday, reportedly for sanitisation purposes. 

Since the Covid lockdown, this is BJP’s first major public rally protesting against the killing of party workers and leaders. The rallies also appeared to be BJP’s show of strength before the crucial state elections due next year. 

The ruling Trinamool, meanwhile, claimed the rallies were not political, but were led by “hooligans and anti-socials”.

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‘Mamata govt is worst in country’

In a no-holds-barred attack on the Mamata government, Surya called it a ‘Black Day’ in the history of Bengal politics.

“Today, in broad daylight, democracy and the Constitution were murdered. Mamata ji’s government is the worst and most corrupt government in the country. In the past two years, over 120 karyakartas were killed in a barbaric manner by her party. They should not consider this rally as an one-off programme. This is just the beginning and we will continue with such movements until we ensure BJP’s victory in Bengal,” he said, addressing the media at the BJP head office in Central Avenue after the rally.

Reacting to Banerjee’s decision of shutting Nabanna, Surya said: “This shows how rattled and scared she is. I felt a very strong impulse of our BJP workers today. It is not a political movement but a people’s movement now.”

He added: “The writing on the wall is clear. It says the Trinamool’s days are numbered. We also witnessed the highhandedness of police. Over 1,000 BJP workers were injured and around 500 were arrested and detained.” 

Surya also took a dig at CM’s nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee. 

“The rule of Abhishek Banerjee, the leader of the goons will not run for long. He is an entitled dynast and a corrupt person. This misrule has to end,” he added. 

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said Surya will keep coming back to hold many such rallies.

“The party has decided to send our newly appointed national president of yuva morcha. This means, the political importance of Bengal is supreme now. And this is just the beginning. He will keep coming back to hold many such rallies to motivate our yuva morcha leaders,” he added.

Also read: Bombs, bullets fly as Covid-19 lockdown fails to end violence in ‘politically-charged’ Bengal

Keep Bengal ‘free of BJP’

Chief Secretary Alapan Banerjee said that 113 people were arrested in total for allegedly indulging into violence.

Talking to the media, he also said the BJP’s march to Nabanna was carried out without permission and it was held against permissible parameters of the Pandemic Act.

Criticising the BJP for resorting to violence, state urban development minister Firhad Hakim said it was a rally by “anti-socials and goons”.

“Political rallies are conducted in a democratic and peaceful way not with bricks, stones and bottles. One firearm was also seized from a person. That is being probed into,” he added.

Veteran Trinamool MP Sougata Roy told ThePrint the rally showed how “violent” the BJP can be.

“BJP today caused mayhem in the city. They believe in the culture of violence. How do the workers of a political party carry firearms, bombs, bricks and stones to a political rally? There was huge brick-batting. Police seized a firearm from a (BJP) worker in Howrah. They were trying to provoke police, but Mamata Banerjee’s police were restrained. Not a single BJP worker is critically injured,” he added.  

On this allegation, Dilip Ghosh said the firearm was a “licensed” weapon and the worker is one of the bodyguards of party MP Arjun Singh.

State minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said BJP won’t “gain anything” from perpetrating violence. “They cannot feed people, but only damage public property.”

Trinamool’s secretary general Partha Chatterjee urged people on Twitter to keep Bengal “free of BJP”.

Also read: Violence over citizenship law ebbs in Bengal, but Mamata-Governor war of words continues


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