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Sporadic Violence in Nandigram over Killing of a BJP Worker

Sporadic Violence in Nandigram over Killing of a BJP Worker

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NEW DELHI, May 23: Sporadic violence erupted in Nandigram under the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal on Thursday after a woman was reportedly killed by some bike-borne men opening fire at her house on Wednesday night.

The BJP has claimed that the deceased woman was its worker. Tamluk is scheduled to go to polls on Saturday.

Rathibara Ari, a resident of Nandigram’s Sonachura area, was killed last night when some unidentified men on motorcycles fired at her house. Several other people were injured and at least seven are undergoing treatment at a hospital.

Angry BJP workers staged a protest in Nandigram on Thursday and some miscreants also set a few shops ablaze. The BJP has pointed to a pattern of poll and post-poll violence in West Bengal and, in a reference to the Sandeshkhali issue – where women were allegedly sexually assaulted by a Trinamool strongman and his aides – said women are not safe in the state despite it having a woman chief minister.

“Whenever there is an election in West Bengal, bullets start flying and explosions are heard. Bombs, guns and bullets seem to bear heavy on the ballot. Violence and cruelty against women is happening brazenly under Mamata Banerjee’s rule. One shameful incident after the other is taking place and all this is happening despite there being a woman chief minister. This is shameful for a democracy,” Union Minister and senior BJP leader Anurag Thakur said.

The Trinamool Congress has said the alleged killing was a fallout of infighting within the BJP, which is now trying to malign its opponent. Senior TMC leader Santanu Sen said, “Not just Nandigram or East Midnapore, there is a fight going on between the old and the new BJP across the country. The death of a woman in Nandigram is a result of that, but attempts are being made to malign the Trinamool Congress. A party that is confident about its work, in the support it has, and about winning the ongoing elections, does not walk on the path of hooliganism.”

Doing well in the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency – which is one of eight segments voting on Saturday – is a matter of prestige both for the Trinamool Congress and the BJP because the Nandigram Assembly constituency is where the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who is now the leader of the opposition in the state, had defeated Trinamool chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the 2021 Assembly elections.

Nandigram is also important for Ms Banerjee because it was the agitation against land acquisition in the area and Singur that is widely credited with her and the Trinamool Congress’ success in dislodging the Left Front government in 2011, which had ruled West Bengal for 34 straight years.

Adding to the chatter around the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat is the BJP’s choice of candidate. The party has fielded Abhijit Gangopadhyay, the Calcutta High Court judge who resigned in March and joined the BJP soon after. His challenger is the TMC’s Debangshu Bhattacharya, known for writing the ‘Khela Hobe’ song for the 2021 Assembly elections.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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