Mamata Banerjee sitting on her dharna at Metro Channel area in Kolkata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is sitting on a dharna or a sit-down protest in central Kolkata to "save the constitution" after a huge showdown between the police and officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Sunday evening. The CBI officers wanted to question Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar over two Ponzi schemes, but the CBI officials who turned up at Mr Kumar's home were taken to a local police station and allegedly detained. "There is total constitutional breakdown. It is my job to protect my officers," the Chief Minister told reporters in the evening. "They (the BJP) cannot fight is politically. That's why they are resorting to all this... Mr (Ajit) Doval is doing whatever PM wants him to do, he is the one giving all the instructions to CBI," she said.
Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien alleged that the BJP was planning a "constitutional coup." Opposition leaders have also spoken out in support of Ms Banerjee, with RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav saying the state government had to take the move due to "political decisions" the CBI had been taking at the BJP's behest. Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also slammed the centre for the showdown in Kolkata. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also criticized the CBI's ation.
The CBI officers, who were released later, are planning to meet the Governor. Ms Banerjee is sitting on dharna at the designated spot for protests in Central Kolkata, accompanied by Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar.
Here are the highlights on the Kolkata Police-CBI clash and Mamata Banerjee's dharna:
Here are some pictures of the ongoing protest by common people from the dharna venue:
Amid the row between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Centre, a BJP delegation will meet the Election Commission today at 12:30 pm. Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Anil Baluni will be a part of this delegation. The BJP delegation seeks to raise complaint over being denied the "democratic right" to campaign for elections.
At 3 am, the protest venue is still teeming with Mamata Banerjee's supporters. There are tea and coffee sellers, people who have turned up with poems they have written and art they have made. "The mood is almost festive," NDTV's Monideepa Banerjie reports.
Asked a little while ago by NDTV how long she plans to stay on the dharna, Mamata Banerjee gave a non-committal shrug. She seems to be in it for the long haul and is now taking rest on a bed that has been brought on the makeshift stage at the protest venue.
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Mamata Banerjee urges crowds to be quiet, asks them to go home
Mamata Banerjee sitting on the stage erected at the protest site
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has tweeted in support of Mamata Banerjee.
NDTV's Monideepa Banerjie reports that this dharna is not something new for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the firebrand leader whose confrontational politics has defined her career. In 2006, she went on a 25-day hunger strike at this very spot, while protesting against the then Left Front government's allocation of farm land for a Tata Motors project in West Bengal's Singur.
At 1 AM, huge public presence at the protest site, with floodlights put on and a shamiana being raised
Trinamool Congress workers are staging a "rail roko" protest in West Bengal's Rishra over the ongoing CBI issue
"CBI has got to do its job or not? When CBI does it, it's political vendetta, when it doesn't do it, it's caged parrot. Let them make up their minds," Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said earlier in the day
Trinamool Congress supporters are gathering around the area of the protest, wanting to be part of it.
Pankaj Srivastava said that Rajeev Kumar was not cooperating with the CBI in the case
"We did not need any court order to go to police commissioner's residence," CBI Joint Director Pankaj Srivastava told NDTV. "We are investigating under the directions of the Supreme Court," he added.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has spoken to Mamata Banerjee and expressed solidarity, news agency ANI reports
Sources have said that the CBI may move the Supreme Court over the matter. Read more here
"The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government," DMK chief MK Stalin tweeted, adding that he is going to stand with Mamata Banerjee in "her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy."
Tejashwi Yadav has said that he might visit Kolkata tomorrow
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also extended his support to Ms Banerjee
Congress leader Ahmed Patel and National Congress leader Omar Abdullah have called up Mamata Banerjee over the row
BJP leader Babul Supriyo tweeted that President's rule should be imposed on West Bengal to control the "rogue" government. He said that this is a constitutional crisis created by Mamata Banerjee to "shield her corrupt and tainted accomplices"
"For the past few months, the CBI, under pressure of the BJP office, had been taking political decisions, forcing state governments to take such decisions. If the CBI continues to work as an alliance partner of the BJP, it won't be surprising if the people take matters into their own hand. Nobody is above the people in democracy," Tejashwi Yadav tweeted.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also tweeted in support of the West Bengal chief minister. "Because of BJP government's exploitative policies and CBI's brazen political misuse, the constitution and the people's independence is in peril. Hence, we completely support Mamata Banerjee's dharna. People and the opposition of the country are united to defeat the BJP in elections," he wrote.
Several opposition leaders have spoken out in support of Mamata Banerjee, with a few of them reportedly set to visit Kolkata on Monday over the matter.
Mamata Banerjee had earlier tweeted saying Mr Kumar was the best police officer in the country and that the BJP was engineering the controversy
Rajeev Kumar was heading the special investigation team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams that had surfaced in the state in 2013.
Rajeev Kumar was asked to help with the investigation when several key documents of the cases allegedly went missing. CBI sources said he had received several summons for questioning over the last two years.
The CBI officers were taken first to the Park Street police station and then to the local Shakespeare Sarani police station
The row erupted earlier today, when a team of forty CBI officers turned up at the Park Street home of police chief Rajeev Kumar. The guards stationed there refused them entry and senior police officers rushed to the spot and virtually shepherded the CBI team away from the residence