The Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation seems to have further lost her ground. BJP Youth Wing's 'March to Nabanna' took a violent turn on Thursday after police resorted to water cannons, lobbed tear gas shells and lathicharged the 'peaceful protesters' to disperse the crowd in more than one place in Kolkata and other places adjoining the metropolis.
Violence and clashes were reported from various parts of Kolkata and Howrah district. There were clashes in Santragachi. "What’s happening in Kolkata is broad daylight Murder of Democracy! Deeply conscious of the writing on the wall; Mamata Banerjee is now scared of the ensuing assembly elections and hence indulging
in Politics of Govt Sponsored Violence," tweeted BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said the BJP Yuva morcha activists and supporters accompanied
senior leaders in the different parts of the city were only protesting "democratically" but Mamata Banerjee
has tried to turn "the peaceful demonstration into a violent protest".
"Goons along with police pelted stones at us,” he said as violence was reported in multiple spots. Scores of BJP workers, including state vice-president Raju Banerjee, were injured in the clash. In various parts of the city, party leaders including Arjun Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Locket Chatterjee, Dilip Ghosh and Mukul Roy were staging protests.
"Our protest is to preserve the rich Bengal culture...," Vijayvargiya said.
"Frightened by the Strong Resolve of the BJP workers. Mamata has first shut down Kolkata in view of the Nabanna chalo March and now she has unleashed the police to curb the march in all possible ways," BJP leader Arvind Menon tweeted.
Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said a number of BJP leaders and workers were injured by police actions. "It appeared...police were determined to attack us to suppress our movement against Trinamool," Ghosh said.
Answering questions in Kolkata, he said: "The Mamata Banerjee regime shut Nabanna today...It is like running away from the playground. They are trying to stop a democratic movement by autocratic style". He said, "We had no plans to throw Mamata Banerjee out physically; why should she shut Nabanna (state secretariat)".
The newly appointed BJP Yuva Morcha chief Tejasvi Surya also led a large group of BJP youth workers and supporters. At one point he raised slogans like 'Agli Sarkar, Bhajpa Sarkar'.
"Nearly 120 BJP workers including councillors and MLAs have been eliminated and murdered by Trinamool goons in the state. We are here to register the protest on deteriorating law and order situation," he said. Senior BJP leader Chandra Bose said the police actions by and large were uncalled for as the BJP had planned democratic and peaceful protest. "Why is there a panic....In election time, people will show whom they prefer and whom they reject," he said.
“Police lathi charged our people even without provocation. Stone-pelting was being done from the Khidirpur side. Can’t the police see that?,” BJP leader Locket Chatterjee said.
The BJP’s ‘Nabanna Chalo’ agitation is a protest against the alleged killing of party workers in West Bengal under the Mamata Banerjee-led government.
Addressing a press conference at BJP headquarters here, Union Minister Ravi Shankar said, "We want to assure the people of Bengal, our party is geared up for installing a new government next year".
West Bengal goes to the polls by April-May next year. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Trinamool Congress seats went down to 22 from 34 while BJP won 18 seats making a quantum leap from mere two in 2014. The BJP vote share also increased from 23 per cent in 2014 to 40 percent in 2019.
Reiterating BJP's determination to come to power in 2021 in the state, BJP national president J P Nadda said last month: "When the entire country was watching the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (of Ram temple in Ayodhya), Mamata Banerjee imposed a lockdown in West Bengal on August 5 to prevent people from being part of the occasion at the local level. But in sharp contrast, lockdown was withdrawn due to Bakrid. The state government’s policies are driven by an anti-Hindu mindset and appeasement politics".
For his part, Trinamool leader and state Minister Bratya Basu tried to attack the BJP for the day's violence. "BJP, do you even care, every time because of your hooliganism how much public property gets destroyed? @BJP4Bengal who will pay for these damages done by your rented goons and outsiders?," he tweeted.