BJP workers defied the state administration to hold "Vijay Sankalp" rallies across West Bengal today, giving rise to clashes with the police, news agency PTI has reported. Action was taken against the political activists - who took out motorcycle rallies ahead of the Lok Sabha elections - in view of a ban on such events for the duration of the school board examinations, it quoted police officers as saying.
PTI reported clashes between BJP workers and policemen at Durgapur and Asansol in West Burdwan district; Midnapore town and Goaltore in West Midnapore; and Balurghat in South Dinajpur. They resorted to baton-charge to drive back activists at Asansol and Goaltore, leaving people on both sides injured, the news agency added. In other parts of the state, party leaders were seen arguing with police officers.
The "Vijay Sankalp" motorcycle rally is part of a countrywide exercise launched by the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, set to be held by May. The movement aims to achieve a people connect and spread awareness on Prime Minister Narendra's vision for the country.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh remained steadfast in his resolve to conduct the rallies. "Hundreds of Sankalp Yatras are being held in the country, and Bengal's included. It will be held even if police arrest us," PTI quoted him as saying in Durgapur.
Unidentified people had stoned Mr Ghosh's car near his Kolkata residence earlier today, news agency IANS reported. Although the BJP leader was not injured, his car was damaged in the incident.
"Unidentified people threw stones at my car this morning, just as I was about to leave for Hoogly. The windscreen was cracked. We have lodged a police complaint in the matter," the news agency quoted Mr Ghosh as saying.
The BJP regularly complains of the ruling Trinamool Congress obstructing attempts by the party to hold rallies in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. It has even accused the Mamata Banerjee government of trying to prevent party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from landing their choppers in the state.
(With inputs from Agencies)