The hooliganism of Trinamool Congress workers in West Bengal is a well-known phenomenon, who often uses violence against political opponents. During the Panchayat elections in the state, several BJP workers were suspected to be murdered by TMC workers. Now with the announcement of dates for Lok Sabha elections, the party seems to have started targeting its own leaders also who are suspected of leaving the party and joining BJP.
One such TMC leader who is rumoured to be joining BJP is Behala East MLA Sovan Chatterjee, a former minister in Mamata government and former mayor of Kolkata. He was asked to resign from both the posts in November last year by the TMC supremo due to differences between the two. After that, rumour was floating that he will switch over to BJP, and such rumours had intensified after election dates were announced.
Due to such rumours, Sovan Chatterjee was kept confined to a bungalow by a mob for several hours in Raichak in South 24 Parganas district on 10th and 11th March. He was accompanied by his friend Baishakhi Chatterjee, who is also rumoured to be joining BJP. According to reports, Sovan Chatterjee, Baishakhi Chatterjee, along with her mother and daughter had gone to Raichak to attend a family gathering. In the afternoon of that day, several persons started surrounding the house they were staying. Movements of people in the Bungalow was being monitored by several suspicious looking people. Although they had ignored the issue at first, the personal security officer of Sovan Chatterjee was worried about the developments. The PSO informed Ramnagar police about the same, but the police took no action.
On the next day, the number of hooligans surrounding the bungalow increased, they completely blocked the access to the house and didn’t let anyone go out. When Sovan Chatterjee himself called the police, he was also ignored. After that, he called the OC of the police station, who visited the place but did nothing to remove the mob.
As the situation worsened, Chatterjee called the SP of Diamond Harbour, DG of West Bengal Police and Chief Secretary of the state government, but still no action was taken to clear the crowd. Encouraged by no-action from Police, the hooligans started shouting abuses in filthiest language. The mobs asked the PSO to handover Baishakhi Chatterjee to them, and threatened that they will rape her to teach a lesson and that they will kill Sovan Chatterjee, since they have dared to decide to contest Lok Sabha elections from Diamond Harbour constituency.
After several hours and calls to authorities, friends and media, police finally arrived later in the day. But the mob had cleared the bungalow before police came, as they got the information in advance. The confined persons were able to leave the house in their car, and police advised them that they should play loud music in their car so that they don’t hear the abuses on the road.
Baishakhi Chatterjee suspects the hand of TMC leader Anubroto Mandal in the incident, who had earlier commented that if Sovan and Baishakhi join BJP, they will be Khallas (finished), which she considered to be a threat.
According to sources, one TMC leader particularly worried about Baishakhi joining BJP is Abhishek Banerjee, the MP from Diamond Harbour, who is the nephew of CM Mamata Banerjee. It has been speculated that BJP is planning to field Baishakhi Chatterjee from Diamond Harbour after she joins the party. Former TMC leader Mukul Roy, who joined BJP in 2017, is said to be instrumental in this plan and he has already held several meetings with Sovan and Baishakhi to discuss the matter.
It is believed in West Bengal political circles that either Baishakhi Chatterjee could be a formidable opponent of Abhishek Banerjee in Lok Sabha elections, which has made Banerjee an anxious man. As a result of such apprehensions, the party workers have decided to warn Sovan and Baishakhi against joining BJP by this show of strength, with indirect support of the police.
Letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner. pic.twitter.com/EFeWZVe3R0
— Upamanyu (@upamanyu70) March 12, 2019
Due to the questionable stand of police and state administration in the incident, Baishakhi Chatterjee has sent a complaint to the Election Commission requesting to investigate the matter and take proper action.