Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday May 14 said he knew massive political violence was about to break out in West Bengal during the Lok Sabha elections 2019. He said he had warned a year ago at the time of panchayat elections in Bengal that there will be more violence during the Lok Sabha polls but nobody reacted then until they themselves had faced the attack from the goons of the ruling Trinamool Congress. The PM said this in his exclusive interview to India News-NewsX TV channels.
The Prime Minister’s fears of violence in Bengal could be borne out by the fact that despite the presence of extra Central forces in West Bengal, targeted violence was the norm in the state. Bengal has had a tumultous relationship at the hustings ever since the Left Front government days when dedicated cadre would roam around constituencies attacking rival party campaigns and meetings and rallies. In the last round, which was the 6th phase of Lok Sabha polls on May 12, there were eight seats, including the tribal belt of Purulia and Jhargram, which voted.
Even before polling could begin, there were reports of clashes and news of deaths and random violence poured in from across these eight seats, especially East Midnapore, Kanthi and Jhargram. One BJP worker and one Trinamool Congress worker were found dead in Jhargram and Kanthi. Two other BJP workers — Ananta Guchait and Ranjit Maity — were reportedly shot at in East Midnapore’s Bhagabanpur.
Continuing to wield the iron hand on any dissent and opposition, the Trinamool Congress government of Mamata Banerjee arrested BJP youth wing worker Priyanka Sharma for sharing a meme which showed Mamata Banerjee’s face superimposed on Priyanka Chopra’s Met Gala look. Sharma was let out on bail by the Supreme Court today after she was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.
On the other hand, BJP is trying to develop the Hindu sentiment against the Trinamool by playing the Hindutva plank. In Ghatal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was seen angrily confronting villagers after they chanted Jai Shri Ram while her convoy was going by. Many journalists have also been attacked while working on the field during this election, including a NewsX crew.
The Trinamool has accused the BJP of fomenting religious trouble — the reason it stated for blocking the party’s rath yatra in Bengal earlier this year. During the polls, the party claimed the saffron party was using the Central forces available at its disposal to swing votes in its favour.