Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee today rushed to Agartala today, a day after his party alleged that at least seven of its members had been injured after being attacked by members of Tripura’s ruling BJP.
Those injured are party leaders and workers such as Debangshu Bhattacharya, Sudip Raha, and Jaya Dutta from West Bengal. They were attacked Ambassa in Tripura’s Dhalai district, according to Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
“The miscreants attacked the car, in which I was also seated, with lathi (baton) and lethal weapons, and pelted the vehicle with stones. Their act shows that they have sensed defeat in next year’s assembly elections in the state,” Mr Bhattacharya told reporters.
Shortly after the incident yesterday, supporters of the BJP and Trinamool faced off and staged road blockades 500 metres apart on NH 8, prompting the police to fire tear gas shells to disperse the mob and bring the situation under control, PTI reported.
While even the CPIM has condemned the attack, the BJP has denied being involved in such incidents and called the Trinamool a “non-factor” in Tripura’s affairs.
Mr Ghosh said a party office was also totally damaged in a similar attack in Dharmanagar in North Tripura district.
“The police, without arresting the attackers, detained several of our leaders and workers, including Subal Bhowmik in Dharmanagar till late Saturday night,” he tweeted. Mr Bhowmik is a former vice-president of Tripura BJP who recently switched sides.
Mr Banerjee, the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said his party would not be intimidated by such attacks.
“The goons of BJP Tripura have shown their true colours. This…reveals the ‘goonda raj’ in Tripura under Biplab’s (Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb) government…Your threats and attacks only prove your inhumanity. Do what you can. Trinamool will not budge an inch,” he tweeted.
It is my promise that I shall continue fighting till the very last drop of my blood.
— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) August 7, 2021
This will be Mr Banerjee’s second visit to the northeastern state in seven days. His convoy was also attacked allegedly by BJP workers during his previous visit on August 2. He even tweeted a video of the assault. The BJP National General Secretary was visiting Tripura to strengthen his party’s presence there.
Mr Ghosh has now said that the Trinamool leaders will meet state Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya soon over the matter and demand the arrest of “BJP goons and members”. His party, he said, would not tolerate the “jungle raj”.
The opposition CPIM, too, has condemned the attacks saying democracy had been totally throttled under the BJP’s governance since March 2018.
The CPIM, however, also took a dig at the Trinamool over the attack, according to a PTI report.
“When our workers were attacked in the northeastern state, TMC had never protested,” said West Bengal CPIM state committee leader Sujan Chakraborty.
Strongly denying all allegations, meanwhile, the BJP claimed the Trinamool was entirely a non-factor in Tripura. West Bengal’s ruling party was trying to spread the “virus of political violence” in the northeastern state, it said. “Outsiders, with the backing of the CPIM,” were fomenting trouble and lawlessness in Tripura, the BJP alleged.
“Why should our party workers attack TMC activists? The party is no threat to us. The TMC does not have the strength to even win a seat in panchayat elections,” Tripura BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said, according to PTI.