Kolkata, Jan 28 (PTI) Trinamool Congress Saturday accused the "rainbow" combine of left, right and Naxalite groups in West Bengal of joining hands with forces like Indian Secular Front (ISF) to foment unrest in the state and cited the recent clashes in the heart of the city and parts of South 24 Parganas to buttress its points.
BJP countered the charges saying TMC is scared of the increasing public discontent against its corrupt regime and erosion in its strong Muslim vote bank with the emergence of ISF.
Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Roy told PTI that the January 25 rally in Kolkata under the banner of 'Nagarik Mancha' (Citizens' Forum) saw the "rainbow coalition" of BJP, CPI-M, Congress and the naxals joining hands to support the violent attack by the "communal" ISF on TMC offices at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas and vandalism by it in the heart of the city.
ISF MLA Naushad Siddique and 17 other party workers were arrested for allegedly indulging in violence that broke out in the city's Esplanade area after a rally on January 21 to mark the party's foundation day. It blamed TMC for defiling its flags. The party was formed in 2021 ahead of the state election and joined the 'Sanjukta Morcha' of the CPI-M and Congress against the ruling TMC and BJP.
"Our strategy in Bhangar as elsewhere in the state is to counter disruptive attempts politically and democratically. The ISF attacked our activists there without any provocation, but we did not allow the situation to escalate," Roy claimed.
This, he said, angered the ISF and those forces from across the political spectrum who are "aiding and abetting" it with the sole agenda to disturb TMC after successive defeats faced by them in all the recent elections. They torched TMC party offices and pelted stones at the police to derail development.
Terming the combine as a "rainbow", he said it consisted of forces professing different ideologies who showed bankruptcy in their thoughts with the sole agenda of "anti-TMCism".
"We are sending emissaries (Didir doot) to every nook and corner of rural Bengal, including Bhangar, to hear about the woes of the villagers," Roy said.
"Despite the severe drubbing in the hands of TMC in the Assembly poll and all successive by-elections, not to speak about previous polls in the past decade, these forces have not learnt to respect the people's verdict. They have ganged up to create instability in the state. Their political narrative about TMC resorting to violence does not reflect the true situation where forces like ISF are being used to whip up violence and create lawlessness by gathering anti-social elements," he added.
On the arrest of Siddique and some other activists, Roy said the police have taken action against those who were involved in the rampage, attack on public property, stone pelting, bursting of bombs and brandishing swords. "Police have also rounded up some of our (TMC) activists in connection with the Bhangar violence though it was started by the ISF. It shows our party has nothing to do with the arrests. It was purely an administrative move," he added.
Senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha told PTI that people loyal to various political parties and religions are uniting against TMC and the saffron party does not have to instigate the masses. "We will certainly stand by the general people who have been cheated and tortured by the ruling party activists all these years." He claimed that the "much vaunted" Didir Doot programme of the Mamata Banerjee government has come a cropper as wherever TMC leaders go they face demonstrations by the people.
Also the TMC is wary of erosion in its Muslim vote bank as the minorities have now understood its "true colours". The attacks on ISF and arrest of its MLA showed the nervousness of the ruling party, Sinha claimed. Asked to comment on Siddique's arrest, Sinha a former state BJP president, said, "Many TMC leaders, including MLAs, have a history of being involved in violent protests, of attacking policemen, mobbing police stations and rampaging public property, including furniture in the West Bengal assembly premises in the past. What has been done against them? What legal action has been taken against them?" TMC had stormed the Assembly and vandalised it badly damaging furniture belonging to the British era on November 30, 2006. The TMC legislators went on the rampage after Banerjee stormed into the premises after she was stopped by police on her way to Singur to campaign against the Tata Motors project there.
Siddique could not be contacted. A ISF spokesperson said "The TMC has lost all support of the common people at Bhangar. Everyone knows how men of TMC strongman Arabul Islam had torn and removed our flags put up on the occasion of our foundation day and how they attacked our activists, including our leader Siddique.
"Police action on our men in the city was brutal and non-bailable sections were slapped on our activists in the most undemocratic manner. TMC cannot silence the voice of common people this way," he said.
ISF will give a befitting reply to the TMC terror in the rural poll later this year, he added. PTI SUS KK KK KK