Amit Shah greeted with black flags in Kolkata, TMC holds statewide protest
Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP) president Amit Shah landed in Kolkata to address a rally in the city. But his arrival was marked with protests from workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) who greeted him with black flags and burnt his effigies.
Shah is in Kolkata to address a rally at Rayo Road.
Ahead of the rally, the BJP and TMC have heated up the political environment of Bengal, with each slamming the other.
While Shah will address a major rally in the heart of Kolkata, the TMC has announced to stage state-wide protests against the draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was released on July 30.
Leaders of both the parties have blamed the other of trying to vitiate the environment with their respective programmes.
BJP's West Bengal unit chief, Dilip Ghosh said the TMC's proposed protests are an attempt to foment violence during Amit Shah's rally. He has warned that the people will give a befitting reply for this.
"The only reason why they [TMC] have decided to stage these protests is to prevent our workers and supporters from attending Amit Shah's rally. They want to foment violence. But I would like to warn them that if they create trouble, people will give them a befitting reply," he told news agency ANI.
On the other hand, TMC general secretary Partha Chatterjee said his party won't let the BJP go ahead with the manner in which it is pursuing the NRC. "Names of lakhs of Bengali-speaking people have been dropped from the NRC draft. We won't let them make a person feel like a refugee in his/her own country," he said.
Chatterjee said the party will not organize protests in Kolkata today. He said, TMC will organise protests against NRC in Kolkata on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a bus carrying BJP workers headed for party president Amit Shah's rally in Kolkata was allegedly attacked and vandalised on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday in West Midapore district of West Bengal.
Police have registered an FIR against unknown persons. No person was injured in the attack.
On Saturday morning, anti-BJP posters were seen near the venue of Shah's rally on Mayo Road. The posters read: 'Anti-Bengal BJP go back'.
This rally is important because last month the BJP had accused the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal of denying them permission for Shah's rally, a charge denied by the TMC and Kolkata Police..
Shah had even threatened that he will hold his rally irrespective of whether the state government gives its nod or denies him permission.
In the run-up to the 2019 elections, the BJP has upped the ante against the TMC in West Bengal. The party is leaving no stone unturned to pose a challenge to Mamata Banerjee's popularity in the state.
On multiple occasions, leaders of the two parties have locked horns and accused each other of highhandedness and assaulting their cadre.
(With inputs from agencies)