Several BJP leaders in West Bengal, including Opposition Leader Suvendu Adhikari, were detained by police today on their way to the state secretariat “Nabanna” in Kolkata as part of a massive protest over alleged corruption in the ruling Trinamool Congress government.
Suvendu Adhikari, BJP MP Locket Chatterjee and other party leaders including Rahul Sinha were stopped by police as they approached the Second Hooghly Bridge near the Secretariat and taken away in a prison van.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters near Howrah Bridge as protesters clashed with security officials. A police car was also set on fire. Several BJP workers were detained by police following the clashes.
Party workers are also in preventive detention in Raniganj.
Hundreds of BJP supporters from West Bengal arrived in Kolkata and neighbouring Howrah this morning to take part in the “Nabana Abijan” or march towards the Secretariat.
While being dragged away by police, Mr Adhikari said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had “turned West Bengal into North Korea”.
“Chief Minister Mamata has no support from her people, so she is running a dictatorship in Bangladesh, similar to North Korea. The police will have to pay for what it does. Here comes the BJP,” he said.
Mr Adhikari led the march in the Santragachi area, while BJP National Vice President Dilip Ghosh led the protests in northern Kolkata.
“The TMC government is afraid of a public uprising. Even if they try to stop our protest march, we will resist peacefully. The state government will be held accountable for any bad development,” Mr Ghosh said earlier today.
Rahul Singhe accused the Mamatabanaji government of trying to forcibly stop his party’s “democratic protests”.
He claimed that BJP supporters were prevented from boarding a special train from Alipurduar to Sealdah last night for the protest march. “They were also charged by the state police,” he claimed.
The BJP has arranged seven trains – three from northern Bangladesh and four from the south – for supporters to take part in Nabana Abijan.
A bus carrying BJP workers to Kolkata was also stopped by police at North 24 Parganas, party sources said.