- Amit Shah blamed Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool for violence
- "Mamata Didi's days are over after May 23 (counting day)": Amit Shah
- On Tuesday, there were clashes during Amit Shah's Kolkata roadshow
BJP president Amit Shah today blamed Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool for the violence, arson and vandalism at his roadshow in Kolkata yesterday. "I wouldn't have got away unhurt without the CRPF's protection," Amit Shah told reporters in Delhi, accusing the Trinamool of "attacking" his roadshow.
"Mamata didi, you are fighting on only 42 seats in one state. The BJP is fighting in every state. If only Bengal is facing violence, then it is because of the Trinamool," the BJP chief said.
He added that it was evident from the Trinamool's conduct that the "ulti ginti (countdown)" had begun for Mamata Banerjee's party in Bengal.
"There is no need for president's rule. The people were end their rule. Mamata Didi's days are over after May 23 (counting day)."
On Tuesday, there were clashes between supporters of the BJP and the Trinamool as Amit Shah took out his roadshow through Kolkata's College Street. A sea of saffron, BJP flags and characters from the Ramayana were part of the roadshow that took an 8 km route through the heart of the Bengal capital.
The clashes erupted after BJP supporters allegedly reacted to posters of "Amit Shah Go Away" held by activists outside the Calcutta University and the Vidyasagar University. At the Vidyasagar University, a bust of iconic 19th century social reformer and educationist Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was smashed, with both parties accusing each other of the vandalism.
"The gates were shut, our roadshow was outside, our workers were outside, the bust was inside a room, which would have presumably been locked. The keys must have been with the college management. How can we break the statue," Amit Shah said. Distributing photos of the clashes, the BJP chief accused the Election Commission of being a "mute spectator" and not acting against the Trinamool.
The Trinamool also released what it called proof that the gates were broken and that BJP men entered the college.
Amit Shah accused Trinamool activists of throwing stones at the roadshow and tearing up posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and himself. Asked about a Trinamool complaint accusing him of instigating mob violence, Amit Shah said: "They can see what happened for themselves."
In Bengal, he said, the BJP would win "23 seats" and sweep the election.
The clashes were a culmination of days of tension and violence in the election campaign in Bengal, where every round of voting has seen violence.
Amit Shah's "Save Republic" rally made for a spectacle Kolkata had never seen - complete with saffron balloons and artistes dressed as Lord Ram and Hanuman dancing to "Jai Shri Ram" chants, and 10,000 kg of marigold petals.
The BJP has asked the Election Commission to ban Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for the last phase of the national election; nine of Bengal's 42 seats will vote on May 19. The party will also protest in Delhi. In a news conference this morning, Amit Shah said Trinamool workers destroyed the statue to frame the BJP.
Accusing the Trinamool Congress of engineering the violence, Amit Shah alleged that 60 BJP workers had been killed during the panchayat polls and the Tuesday violence was also an attempt to "influence" the election. "Mamata Didi's goons were frustrated by the crowds at the roadshow and tried to cause a stampede. I appear to the people of Bengal to throw out the Trinamool," he said.