Agartala: Tension heightened in Tripura’s Majlishpur constituency after clashes broke out between the Congress and BJP activists during a bike rally on Thursday.
The incident occurred soon after the poll date was announced for the 60-member Tripura state assembly.
The Congress has claimed that 15 party workers and functionaries, including AICC general secretary and in-charge for Tripura Ajoy Kumar, were injured after a group of “BJP-backed goons” allegedly attacked them during the rally.
The BJP, however, claimed that a party office belonging to the ruling camp was ransacked by the Congress supporters, which prompted the violent face-off.
Several other workers belonging to both parties were also hurt during the scuffle.
Speaking on the issue, Sankar Debnath, superintendent of police in West Tripura District, said, “Both the sides have their own version of the incident and lodged complaints against each other. We are in the process of registering both cases.”
“A sufficient number of security forces have been deployed in the region to avert any untoward incident. Soon after the incident, the area was brought under control by security forces to restore normalcy,” Debnath told EastMojo.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Sudip Roy Barman accused ICA Minister and Majlishpur MLA Sushanta Chowdhury of the attacks and alleged that he had instigated the violence. Barman also advised the ruling party to start counting its days in power.
“The local MLA, who is also a member of the state cabinet, was present at the spot when goons of the Bharatiya Janata Party launched the attack on our senior leaders. At four separate locations of the motorcycle rally, stones were hurled at our workers. The local MLA was also engaged in a verbal altercation with Congress workers, senior TPCC leader Asish Saha and our national in-charge Ajoy Kumar. His videos using unparliamentary words are viral on social media platforms,” Barman stated.
According to Barman, when the bike rally was passing through the Majlishpur area, it came under attack at the Sachindra Lal colony area as the BJP-backed miscreants started throwing stones and brickbats at the Congress workers.
“Instead of indulging in violence, the Congress workers moved ahead but the local MLA stopped the rally in the Mohanpur area and all of a sudden stone pelting started from the roofs of the buildings on both sides of the roads. Again the rally was attacked at Ranirbazar Townhall area and Briddhanagar. More than 20 party workers have sustained injuries, while 15 of them have been hospitalized,” said Barman.
The senior Congress leader also branded the attack as a direct challenge to the ECI’s efforts to conduct free and fair polls. He said, “I don’t how the ECI will react, but this incident has again proved that the BJP doesn’t care about the ECI’s assurances. I am also drawing the notice of the police administration to look into the matter.”
Calling the workers of CPI-M and Congress to come together to resist such attacks, the Congress leader said, “I am making a clarion call to the workers of CPI-M and Congress to organise events jointly and give a befitting reply to the BJP in the language that they understand.”
On the other hand, Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Sushanta Chowdhury alleged that the SM colony party office of the BJP was ransacked by motorcycle-borne Congress workers.
“First of all, they did not have any police permission to organise the rally. All of a sudden, the bike-borne Congress workers reached the party office and indulged in vandalism. I don’t have any problem if they were here to organize a street corner or party meeting. If they are willing to counter us politically, they may have taken the right course instead of indulging in such criminal offenses,” said Chowdhury.
The minister also claimed that two noted criminals, identified as Keshab Sarkar and Manoranjan Debnath, were present at the Congress rally. “People of Majlishpur will give a befitting reply to them. The Congress and CPI-M parties have lately started their joint venture of politics and what they can do is already being reflected through such activities,” he said.
He also alleged that the Congress and CPI-M workers were trying to create unrest in the area by bringing people from outside. “A police complaint was lodged against all of them,” he added.
Chief Electoral Officer Kiran Gitte said, “Had the security forces not taken swift action, the incident would have blown out of proportion. We are trying our best to prevent any sort of violence, which is detrimental to the peaceful conduct of the polls.”
Congress CWC member Dr. Ajoy Kumar and other party workers are now being treated at GBP hospital.
Kumar, while speaking to the media person, refused the Congress party’s involvement in any kind of attacks and accused the minister of masterminding the organized attack. Apart from the senior Congress leaders, CPI-M state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury and CPI-M state committee member Pabitra Kar visited Dr. Kumar at GB hospital.
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CPI-M state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury said, “This incident speaks of the fear in the BJP. Driven by the fear of defeat, the BJP resorted to violence.”
According to Congress, the party has mentioned the name of the minister in the FIR.
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