- Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar statue broken in clashes
- Violence broke out during Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata
- PM Modi said Trinamool Congress "goons" vandalised statue
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, acknowledging the huge backlash after a statue of 19th century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was broken in clashes at Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, promised to install his "grand statue" at the same spot. PM Modi's BJP and Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress have accused each other of vandalising the statue, which has immense emotional value for the people of Bengal.
"We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata, they vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue. Such people should face strong action," PM Modi said at a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Mau.
"We are committed to Vidyasagar's vision and will install his grand statue made of panchdhatu (five metals) at the same spot," pledged the Prime Minister.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit back. "Modi has promised to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata. Why should we take their (BJP''s) money? Bengal has enough resources," Ms Banerjee said at a rally.
Derek O'Brien, a senior leader of her Trinamool Congress, promptly responded to the PM's remarks with a rage-filled tweet.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's bust was broken on the premises of the Vidyasagar College, which was on the route of Amit Shah's roadshow on Tuesday evening.
Clashes erupted when students holding up posters of "Go Back Amit Shah" were attacked by saffron-wearing men armed with sticks, said to be BJP supporters. Video clips released by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's party show attackers breaking through the gates of the college. It is not clearly established, however, which side the attackers belonged to.
Amit Shah alleged that Mamata Banerjee had her own party men smash the bust to pin the blame on the BJP ahead of the last round of voting in Bengal. Kolkata has four of the nine constituencies that will vote on Sunday in 42-seat Bengal.
The Election Commission yesterday curtailed campaigning in Bengal over the violence, and said it was "deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue" of an icon who, "besides his many other achievements as a philosopher, academic educator, writer and philanthropist, worked all his life in the cause of widow remarriage which was unthought and unheard of in the ultraconservative society in those days."