The tension over the vandalizing of Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar Statue has reached its peak in West Bengal amidst elections. In the absence of CCTV footage, both Trinamool Congress(TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers are accusing each other of vandalizing and desecrating the statue of the visionary who holds a lot of respect and esteem for the people of Bengal.
As the outrage rose and there were reports of public hysteria in the area, PM Modi announced that he will erect the statue of Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar at the same venue. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee replied that the Trinamool Congress does not need money from the Bharatiya Janata Party to rebuild the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. “Modi has promised to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Mandirbazar in South 24 Parganas district. “We are not going to take their [BJP’s] money, Bengal has enough resources.”
The chief minister also warned BJP supporters that they would not be accepted in society. “Those who go with the BJP should remember that the society will not accept them,” she said. “Those who are siding with the BJP for money, remember that Modi had said that in five years there will be 10 crore jobs. That has not happened, in fact unemployment has gone up instead.”
Borrowing the slogan coined by the Congress, Banerjee urged the crowd at the rally to chant “chowkidar chor hai”. Congress President Rahul Gandhi came up with the phrase to target Modi over the alleged improprieties in the Rafale aircraft deal.
The chief minister also criticised the BJP for spreading fake news on social media, and accused it of attempting to instigate people and cause riots.
Clashes broke out during a road show of BJP National President Amit Shah in the College Street area of Kolkata on Tuesday evening after sticks were reportedly thrown at Shah’s vehicle. Posters reading “Amit Shah Go Back” and black flags were waved at the BJP leader.
Student activists of the Left Front, the Trinamool Congress, and the BJP then got into a scuffle. BJP activists locked the gates of the Vidyasagar college hostel and set cycles and bikes on fire.
The following day, the Election Commission curtailed campaigning in the state and said campaigning would end at 10 pm on Thursday, a day earlier than scheduled. But questions have been raised as to why the ban came into force two days later, and not before Narendra Modi’s election-related events.
Opposition leaders have raised questions as to why Election Commission is keeping PM Modi’s schedule in mind while applying the campaign ban and why was the ban not implemented with immediate effect in the presence of anti-social elements creating a ruckus. Mamata Banerjee criticised the Election Commission, claiming that the poll panel is full of workers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. She also called the order unconstitutional and unethical. She also appointed a Special Investigation Team to probe the vandalisation of the statue.