Post poll clashes erupted in many places across West Bengal since Sunday, prompting Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to summon the state’s director general of police at Raj Bhavan on Monday. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee urged people to maintain peace.
The BJP alleged that at least five of its workers and supporters had been killed since Sunday and a few hundred party offices and houses of BJP workers were ransacked across the state as the counting progressed, and the trends became clearer. Banerjee, however, rubbished the allegations saying that BJP was spreading lies using old pictures of riots that took place outside Bengal. “We have already told the police to delete them,” she added.
“Perturbed and worried at several reports of violence, arson and killings from various parts of State. Party offices, houses & shops being attacked. Situation alarming. Prompt action called for @HomeBengal @WBPolice @CPKolkata Have conferred @MamataOfficial for urgent action,” Dhankhar tweeted on Monday.
“Have been constrained to urgently summon DGP @WBPolice in the wake alarming law and order in the State,” the Governor tweeted.
The TMC won 213 out of the 292 assembly seats where polls were held in eight phases. Its main challenger, the BJP won 77 seats. Banerjee had earlier claimed at least 17 people had lost their lives in the run-up to the polls. The BJP, however, had claimed the toll was much higher.
“We know that the BJP and Central forces had tortured people. But even then, I will urge all to maintain peace and not to resort to violence. If there are any allegations [against anyone], approach the police. Till we take oath, law and order is not in our hand. Despite the defeat, BJP is torturing people,” said Banerjee.
The chief minister is expected to meet the Governor on Monday evening to complete some formalities.
Meanwhile, as reports poured in that BJP workers were being attacked and party offices were being ransacked and torched, the party launched multiple helplines — political violence and assistance numbers –to report such cases.
“At least six persons have been killed in the last 24 hours. A few hundred houses have been ransacked. Reports of violence are pouring in from all constituencies. We have shared video clippings,” said Dilip Ghosh, president of BJP’s unit in West Bengal.
According to BJP, a BJP worker’s mother was killed when she tried to save her son from being attacked by TMC goons in Jagatdal . BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar was killed at Beleghata in east Kolkata. At Ranaghat, a BJP supporter, Uttam Sarkar, 48, was killed. At Sonarpur, BJP woker Haran Adhikari was killed and at Sitalkuchi, a young man was shot dead.
A BJP office was ransacked at Nandigram, where the Banerjee was defeated by her protégé-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari. The returning officer at Nandigram received life threats, Banerjee told media.
Banerjee said that one of her party workers was killed at Burdwan. “The BJP is still torturing people in Cooch Behar,” she added.
“The chief minister is saying that law and order is not in her hand at the moment as she is yet to take oath. We will meet the Governor and chief secretary to apprise them of the situation,” said Ghosh.