Kolkata: BJP, TMC workers clash

Massive violence marred the mega roadshow of BJP national president Amit Shah in Kolkata after supporters of the BJP and the TMC clashed with each other. Protesters set several vehicles ablaze, vandalised a college campus and even pelted stones following which the police had to resort to lathi charge to bring the situation under control.

Trouble reportedly began as Shah’s rally was passing through College Street on its way to Bidhan Sarani from Esplanade on Tuesday evening.

Several motorcycles parked outside were vandalised and set ablaze. Shards of broken glass littered the lobby of the college where a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a noted philosopher and a key figure of Bengal Renaissance, was smashed to smithreens. Police personnel were seen trying to douse the fire with buckets filled with water.

Members of the Trinamool Congress Chatra Parishad, TMC’s student wing pelted bricks, stones and the blocked Shah’s rally. They even showed him black flags as he passed in front of Calcutta University, which is located a stone’s throw away from BJP headquarters.

The situation turned tense after BJP supporters retaliated. The police had to lathi charge to make way for the convoy. This allegedly happened right in front of the truck in which Shah was travelling with BJP candidates and other senior leaders.

Eyewitnesses said the TMCP activists used iron rods, glass bottles and bricks to attack.

TMCP supporters claimed that they were attacked with bricks inside the Vidyasagar College campus.

Meanwhile, some students of Vidyasagar College also claimed that BJP workers attacked them, vandalised the campus.

Reacting to the violence, Shah said, “People will give a befitting reply to the attack and violence in the polls. The roadshow has been attacked in two locations.”

Bidhan Sarani was to be the last point of his roadshow.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed ‘outsiders’ brought by the BJP for the rally for the violence, “If you do not have people here, why bring them from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for a roadshow?”

It went at a leisurely pace through roads lined with saffron balloons and BJP flags, artistes dressed as the Lord Ram and Lakshman stood on trucks as others, dressed as Hanumans, milled around or danced to music - a 300-feet column of people that walked along the BJP chief's cavalcade.

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