A day after major clashes erupted between supporters of his party and those of TMC in Kolkata’s College Street, BJP chief Amit Shah said that he escaped alive only because of the presence of CRPF personnel at the roadshow.
Addressing reporters at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday, Shah said that it was his good fortune that he made it out safely even as stones were hurled at his vehicle as his roadshow was passing Calcutta University.
“It would have been very difficult for me to escape safely from there if the CRPF was not present. Only because of good fortune am I safe,” he said.
Shah said that the incident proves the ruling TMC led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can go to any length.
“Many of our workers have been killed thus an attack on me was imminent. This also proves that TMC can go to any length,” he added.
Slamming Banerjee for accusing the saffron party of the violence, Shah said, “Mamata Banerjee claims that BJP is doing it. I want to tell her that we are fighting in every state in the nation, unlike you on 42 seats in West Bengal. Violence didn’t take place in six phases of elections anywhere but Bengal which proves that TMC is responsible for it.”
Commenting on the FIR filed against him, Shah said that it won’t dissuade BJP workers.
“An FIR has been lodged against me. If Mamata Didi thinks that the FIR will make BJP afraid, she is wrong. I assure her that BJP workers and the people of Bengal will vote against TMC with even more aggression in the seventh phase,” Shah said.
The BJP chief alleged that “TMC goons” have killed over 60 BJP workers, adding that even then his party has not stopped its campaign.
Speaking to a TV channel after the violence, Shah also alleged that the police “deviated from the planned route”.
He said he was told by police that the permission for the roadshow ended near the college and that he will be taken to the ancestral home of Swami Vivekananda on Bidhan Sarani.
“They (police) deviated from the planned route and took a way where there were traffic jams. I was not allowed to reach Swami Vivekananda’s house to pay tributes and I am saddened by it,” Shah claimed.
Shah was holding a roadshow on Tuesday in the heart of Kolkata when his convoy was pelted with stones near the Calcutta University, triggering a clash between supporters of TMC and those of BJP.
Shah escaped unhurt but was forced to cut short the roadshow, which was to conclude at Swami Vivekananda’s house at Simla Street.
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 key figure of Bengal Renaissance, was smashed to smithereens.
Contingents of Kolkata Police deployed for the roadshow swung into action and were seen chasing away the warring groups. Several people were also arrested for violence.
Police personnel were seen trying to douse the fire with buckets filled with water.
Banerjee claimed the violence was triggered by goons the BJP brought from outside Bengal.
“If you lay your hands on Vidyasagar, what will I call you other than a goonda?” she said at a rally in Behala.
“I hate your ideology, I hate your ways,” she said and announced a protest rally on Thursday against the vandalisation of Vidyasagar’s bust.
Meanwhile, top BJP leaders and Union ministers held a protest in New Delhi against the attack on Shah at his roadshow.
West Bengal is the only state which witnessed political violence in each of the six phases of the Lok Sabha elections held so far. Attacks on BJP workers as well as on the vehicles of ministers and candidates have been recorded from across the state.