Several BJP leaders in West Bengal, including Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, were detained by the police today when they were marching to state secretariat 'Nabanna' in Kolkata, as part of a huge protest over alleged corruption by the ruling Trinamool Congress government.
Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee and other party leaders, including Rahul Sinha, were stopped by the police as they approached the Second Hooghly Bridge near the secretariat, and taken away in a prison van.
The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters near the Howrah bridge as they clashed with security officials. A police car was also set on fire. Several BJP workers were detained by the police following the clashes.
Party workers were taken into preventive custody in Raniganj as well.
Hundreds of BJP supporters from across West Bengal arrived in Kolkata and neighbouring Howrah this morning to take part in the 'Nabanna Abhijan' or march to secretariat.
While being dragged away by the police, Mr Adhikari said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has "turned West Bengal into North Korea".
"Chief Minister Mamata does not have the support of her people and so she is enforcing dictatorship, similar to North Korea, in Bengal. The police will have to pay for what it is doing. The BJP is coming," he said.
Mr Adhikari was leading the march from the Santragachi area, while BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh was leading the protest from north Kolkata.
"The TMC government is scared of a public uprising. Even if they try to stop our protest march, we will resist peacefully. The state administration will be responsible for any untoward development," Mr Ghosh had said earlier today.
Rahul Sinha accused the Mamata Banerjee government of trying to forcibly stop the "democratic protest" by his party.
He alleged that the BJP supporters were prevented from boarding a special train from Alipurduar to Sealdah last evening to take part in the protest march. "They were also lathicharged by the state police," he alleged.
The BJP had arranged seven trains -- three from north Bengal and four from the south -- for supporters to take part in the 'Nabanna Abhijan'.
Buses carrying BJP workers to Kolkata were also stopped by the police in North 24 Parganas, party sources said.