Amit Shah on Kolkata roadshow: Without CRPF, I’d be dead

Shah said that, in the morning of 14 May, rumours were abuzz across Kolkata that the BJP roadshow would be targeted by Trinamool workers and yet the police did not investigate the matter or try to pre-empt the attack

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Amit Shah roadshow Kolkata

New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah has alleged that West Bengal Police or Kolkata Police did not arrive in time during the Tuesday roadshow and that he might have been killed if the CRPF had not been around for his security.

West Bengal capital Kolkata had erupted on Tuesday as the BJP president’s roadshow met with stiff resistance from the ruling Trinamool, especially its student wing, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad. Miscreants set many of the vehicles participating in the roadshow on fire. After Amit Shah concluded the road show, police reached the spot and took recourse to lathi-charge to disperse the activists of the two parties.

Shah had informed the media yesterday that his roadshow had to be concluded prematurely. His itinerary, he said, included offering a wreath at the idol of Swami Vivekananda, which could not be done due to the fierce mob attack.

The police arrived at the spot after several vehicles were set on fire, cordoned Shah off and took him to a safe place. Before this, the police had been around like mute spectators.

The Trinamool activists, some local news mediums say, initially arrived, demonstrating with black flags. Eyewitnesses say then they took the flag poles out and threw them like javelins at the vehicles.

Shah said that the BJP workers were assaulted at two places in the course of the roadshow. “Mamata Banerjee is trying to kill democracy in Bengal. Mamata didi is trying to provoke violence,” he alleged.

The BJP president said that Mamata Banerjee was overwhelmed by the choc-a-bloc crowd throughout the 8-km stretch of his roadshow and, hence, she instigated her party workers to launch an assault on BJP workers.

The BJP president said that while the Trinamool was contesting a mere 42 seats in Bengal, his party was contesting across India, and yet, while all the six phases of the Lok Sabha election were conducted peacefully in the BJP-ruled States, not one phase in Bengal went without violence erupting at the polling centres.

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During the roadshow, the statue of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was desecrated, vandalised and removed from the Vidyasagar College.

But Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien tweeted that “BJP goons” entered the college and broke the statue of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. The Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP alleged that BJP workers desecrated the statue in the presence of Shah.

O’Brien also scoffed at Shah’s knowledge of Bengal and said the State “will never forgive you”.

Shah, on the other hand, said that Mamata Banerjee was staring at a Trinamool defeat and was, hence, resorting to violence. He alleged it was Trinamool that vandalised the Vidyasagar statue.

Shah’s roadshow had begun from the Shaheed Minar (“the Monument” in local lingo) ground in Dharmatala, Kolkata, and was supposed to culminate at the Vivekananda House. The BJP cadre had been preparing for the roadshow for the past few days.

Late in the evening, BJP general secretary in charge of the party’s affairs in Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya and national general secretary Anil Jain had monitored the preparations for the roadshow throughout its planned route.

Shah said that, in the morning of 14 May, rumours were abuzz across Kolkata that the BJP roadshow would be targeted by Trinamool workers and yet the police did not investigate the matter or try to pre-empt the attack.