Published On: Tue, May 14th, 2019

Kolkata drowns in saffron deluge as Shah’s roadshow stoned by TMC activists

Kolkata: The heart of Kolkata was drowned in a deluge of saffron on Tuesday as thousands of BJP workers took part in party President Amit Shah’s roadshow ahead of the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The goons of Mamata didi’s party Trinamool Congress attacked the road show

Flower petals rained from the rooftops on both sides of the streets while thousands took part in the colourful procession, chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and waving saffron flags as it traversed from the Shahid Minar in central Kolkata to move through the Dharamtala Crossing, Lenin Sarani and Subodh Mallick Square and culminated near Swami Vivekanda’s residence on Simla Street.

Shah stood atop a truck, accompanied by Kolkata North candidate Rahul Sinha, state party president Dilip Ghosh, South Kolkata candidate Chandra Kumar Bose, Union Minister Babul Supriyo and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Viswa Sharma.

Visibly pleased at the crowd’s response, he waved at the people, greeted them with folded hands and showered saffron marigold petals on those on the steet.

The road show grew in size with every passing moment, as more and more people joined in and thousands more watched the spectacle from balconies, shops, roadside buildings, and pavements, beckoned by huge cut outs of Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

People wearing Modi masks and unique lotus hats grooved to the tunes of high octane songs played from loudspeakers.

Half-an-hour into the programme, large stretches of the city hub came to a standstill with hindreds participating in the procession, the like of which the city has rarely seen.

BJP leaders and activists looked upbeat.

“If the polls are conducted in a free and fair manner, then we will comfortably win in many seats across Bengal. But the Central force have to play a pivotal role in maintaining peace during polling. In north Kolkata, a large section of people are in favour of BJP. We need to stop Trinamool from rigging the votes,” said Vikram Singh, secretary of BJP’s north Kolkata unit.

Carrying their traditional triangular red flags and playing ‘tasha’ beats, a large number of men and women from the Dalit Matua community followed Shah’s vehicle.

“We are here because we support BJP and Modi ji. He has said, once voted back to power, his government will ensure that all the Hindu refugees in India would get citizenship. We have been struggling for a long time for our rights but the current Trinamool Congress government does not pay any heed to our demands,” said Gauranga Das.

Another refugee forum — ‘Nikhil Bharat Udbastu Samannay Samiti’ – from Bengal’s Nadia district also took part in the rally.

Nearly 200 members of the forum, many of them youngsters, gathered near Subhodh Mullick Square and raised slogans “We want Modi, we want citizenship”.

The rhythm was broken when a clash broke out between the saffron party activists and members of Trinamool Congress students’ union near Calcutta University building, towards the end of the road show as the two opposing groups attacked each other with stones, baboo sticks and metal rods.

Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad activists allegedly hurled stones at BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow here on Tuesday, triggering clashes in which three motorbikes were set ablaze in the College Street area and many sustained injuries.

“There were disturbances in two places during my rally here as the Trinamool supporters tried to create violence and threw stones and bricks at us,” he said.

The TMCP activists had positioned themselves outside the gates of Calcutta University carrying black flags and posters, long before Shah’s road show reached the spot.

As the rally was passing the area, they shouted slogans, showed him black flag and allegedly threw stones and bricks targeting the rally.

The BJP supporters, on the other hand, also allegedly threw bricks at the university students and raised counter slogans.

In a bid to outwit the agitators, the saffron party supporters played music in full volume and also held up the big cut-outs, festoons on the roadside to overshadow the black flags.

The moment Shah passed the spot, both the parties broke the police barricade and started flinging chairs and guard-rails at each other.

Moments later, another clash broke out between the two groups in front of the Vidyasagar College which spilled within the campus.

Three two-wheelers were set afire in front of the college.

Following the incidents of violence during his Kolkata road show, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Tuesday accused “the goons” backed by Trinamool Congress of attacking his procession and appealed to the people to give Mamata Banerjee’s party a stern reply by voting them out of power.

“The goons of Mamata didi’s party Trinamool Congress attacked the road show. The attack started near a medical college. Objects were thrown at us and attempts were made to create a stampede-like situation,” Shah alleged.

“I strongly condemn the kind of violence spread by Banerjee’s party. I want to appeal to the people of Bengal to give them a stern reply in the last phase of polling by exercising their voting rights peacefully. In order to eradicate the culture of political violence from Bengal, it is important to defeat Trinamool Congress,” he said.

The BJP leader also accused the Election Commission of looking the other way from the issues created by Trinamool Congress in Bengal and urged the EC to “immediately arrest all the goons” in the state before the seventh phase of polling.

“The Election Commission is sitting with its eyes closed. In order to save its reputation, the EC should issue an order to arrest all the goons roaming around in Bengal before the final phase of polling,” he added.

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