Hours after top BJP leaders held a protest demonstration near Mamata Banerjee's home at Kalighat with a dead body in a hearse, Kolkata Police filed a case against the new Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar and three other BJP leaders including two BJP MPs Arjun Singh and Jyotirmoy Mahato as well as the BJP candidate for Bhabanipur Priyanka Tibrewal.
One of the sections in the case is non-bailable: Section 353, for obstructing public servants from discharging their duty.
Sukanta Majumdar, the BJP Bengal chief, dismissed the case, calling it the handiwork of a partial, politically motivated police, and said the police "misbehaviour" with sitting MPs could be grounds to move a privilege motion against the officer in Lok Sabha. The "misbehaviour" with the Bhabanipur candidate, he said, was equivalent to "sexual harassment".
Priyanka Tibrewal, heading into the Bhabanipur polls due on 30 September, said she was being harassed simply because she was fighting the polls against Mamata Banerjee.
Firhad Hakim, senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee government, said the BJP had violated the law with its "protest drama" in the high security zone around the chief minister's house. "The law will take its own course, the police will do its own job. We in Trinamool have nothing to do with it," he said.
The police lodged the case after the BJP leaders protested last evening just metres away from the chief minister's residence. Earlier in the evening, BJP leaders at the Hastings party office had paid tributes to Manas Das, BJP candidate from Mograhat, South 24 Parganas district, who they claimed was a victim of post poll violence, who died on Wednesday just days after being discharged from hospital. The BJP told police they were going off to Mograhat with the body. Their route went past the chief minister's residence. As they went past, the BJP stopped the whole convoy, blocking the arterial road, and started shouting slogans.
Caught unawares, the police took a few minutes to clear the road and force the hearse and the rest of the BJP convoy to drive ahead, away from the chief minister's residence. That's when Sukanta Majumdar raced up the Kalighat bridge and sat down on dharna in front of the hearse. The police physically lifted him up and cleared the road.
"We expect nothing different from the partial police," Mr Majumdar said, accusing the Trinamool of getting the police to file cases against him. Trinamool leader Tapas Roy said, "Sukanta Majumdar is just trying to get publicity as the new BJP chief in the state and making a fool of himself."