TMC, BJP unleash violence on Vivekananda birth anniversary

Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari

Kolkata- West Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh on Friday claimed Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari will not attend the Bengal Global Business Summit starting from next Tuesday as a protest against the attack on BJP workers by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Sources said the BJP, struggling to find a foothold in Bengal, believes that Friday's incident -- allegedly stemming from some local Trinamul activists' adventurism -- may be a boon for it.

The BJP alleged that some Trinamool workers hurled stones at their members and also attacked them with sticks, while the Trinamool, denying the allegations, accused BJP workers of indulging in vandalism.

Police sources said that a huge police contingent was rushed to the spot and the situation was brought under control. Workers of both the parties pelted stones at each other near Red Road in Kolkata.

The street fights also attracted Calcutta High Court's notice after its special officer, Rabi Shankar Datta, submitted that his vehicle was vandalised and he sustained minor injuries near Mohammad Ali Park at 11.15 am. On Thursday, the court had appointed two special officers to ensure law and order is maintained during the bike rally. Our party will never allow a communal force like the BJP to disturb the peace prevailing in the state. "They were hurling abuses and brandishing lathis", Panja said.

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, TMC parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay went to Swami Vivekanandas ancestral House in north Kolkata to pay homage to the 19th century Hindu monk.

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An hour before this, a clash had occurred between workers of the parties at the Jorabagan area in central Kolkata over a motorcycle rally by the BJP's youth wing to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanada. It was staged by the BJP to get media attention, he said.

Told about the reason given by Gadkari's office for his likely cancellation of the trip, a state BJP politician said: "That's the official reason that Gadkari, as a Union cabinet minister, has to give to the state government".

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) has embarked on an eight-day motorbike rally which started from Contai, in the southern part of the state, to Coochbehar in the north where it is scheduled to end on January 18.

The party said its was tough to carry on with the programme in the present circumstances. "We have requested the Central government not to send ministers to any function organised by the West Bengal government".

Union ministers' participation is crucial for the investment summit as the bulk of the investment commitments at its last few editions had come from public-sector units. The party has also made a decision to organise a demonstration outside all police stations in the state tomorrow.

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