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On Camera, Trinamool MLA’s “Vote At Your Risk” Message For BJP Supporters

The video was shared by leaders of BJP, including its IT cell head Amit Malviya and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, among others

Kolkata: The BJP has targeted the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal over a video in which a party legislator is seen asking Trinamool workers to threaten BJP supporters against voting in the upcoming bypoll in Asansol Lok Sabha seat.

“Tell them, ‘If you vote, where you would be after voting is at your own risk’,” the video shows Trinamool’s Pandabeswar MLA Naren Chakraborty telling party workers in what appears to be a meeting on poll preparations.

The video was shared by senior leaders of the BJP, including its IT cell head Amit Malviya and Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, among others.

The Pandabeswar Assembly segment is part of the Asansol Lok Sabha constituency where a bypoll is due on April 12.

In the video, Mr Chakraborty is heard saying in Bengali, “Those who are hardcore BJP supporters, who cannot be influenced, they have to be threatened. Tell them, ‘If you go to vote, we will assume you will vote for BJP. Then, after the vote, where you will be is at your risk. And if you don’t go to vote, we will assume that you are supporting us, you stay well, go about your job or business, we are with you’.”

Sharing the video, Mr Malviya has tweeted, “Such criminals should be behind bars but in Bengal Mamata Banerjee patronizes them. ECI must take note.”

Mr Adhikari said in his tweet that Mr Chakraborty was earlier a member of Burdwan Zilla Parishad and a president of Trinamool’s Pandabeswar block unit. He said the MLA had been detained at Kolkata airport in 2016 for trying to board a flight with an unlicensed gun and rounds of cartridges.

The Trinamool Congress is yet to comment on the matter. 

The Asansol seat fell vacant after former Union minister and MP Babul Supriyo quit the BJP and joined Trinamool.

While the BJP has fielded fashion designer-MLA Agnimitra Paul, Trinamool has given a ticket to actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who was earlier with the BJP and then the Congress before joining the Mamata Banerjee-led party. Mr Supriyo is Trinamool’s candidate for the Ballygunge bypoll.

The BJP’s attack on the Trinamool is the latest in its offensive on the ruling party over the law and order situation in the state.

The fresh attack comes against the backdrop of the ghastly killings in Birbhum district where eight members of a family, including five women and two children, were assaulted and then burnt to death. The incident is alleged to be a retaliation after a local Trinamool Congress leader, Bhadu Sheikh, was killed in a crude bomb attack. Following an intervention by the Calcutta High Court, the CBI is probing the killings.

Legislators of the BJP and Trinamool came to blows in the Assembly yesterday over a demand that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speak on the state’s law and order situation.

A Trinamool MLA was injured in the fight. Mr Adhikari and four other BJP legislators were suspended from the Assembly for the whole of this year following the ruckus.

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