News Brief

Tensions Erupt In Nandigram Following Killing Of BJP Worker Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections: Here's All That Has Happened So Far

Bhuvan Krishna

May 23, 2024, 06:13 PM | Updated 06:11 PM IST

BJP West Bengal leader Suvendu Adhikari has blamed the TMC for the "barbaric murder," labeling the attackers as "jihadists."
BJP West Bengal leader Suvendu Adhikari has blamed the TMC for the "barbaric murder," labeling the attackers as "jihadists."

Tensions have flared in Nandigram, located in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district, on Thursday (23 May) after a BJP woman worker was killed and seven others were injured in an attack on Wednesday night, just days before the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

On Thursday, BJP supporters took to the streets in protest, torching shops and blocking roads with felled trees and fires.

Security was heightened with the deployment of the Rapid Action Force, central forces, and police. According to a report by The Indian Express, no arrests have been made yet.

The incident triggered a blame game, with the BJP accusing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of orchestrating the attack, while the TMC denied the allegations, attributing the violence to infighting within the local BJP.

"The incident occurred in the Sonachura area on Wednesday night. The deceased has been identified as Rathibala Adi. One of the injured, whose condition is critical, has been transferred to Kolkata," a senior police official said.

Local sources have identified the critically injured victim as the son of the deceased BJP worker.

As per the same report, BJP supporters were guarding the Mansapukur market area in Sonachura during the final leg of the election campaign when a group of bike-borne men allegedly attacked them with sharp weapons. Rathibala Adi was fatally wounded, and her son, Sanjay Adri, was grievously injured while trying to save her.

The attackers fled as villagers gathered in response to the workers' screams. The injured BJP workers were rushed to Nandigram Super Specialty Hospital, where Rathibala Adi was declared dead. Her son was later transferred to Kolkata due to his deteriorating condition.

BJP Leader of Opposition and Nandigram MLA Suvendhu Adhikari blamed the TMC for the "barbaric murder", labeling the attackers as "jihadists". The TMC denied the allegations, suggesting the incident resulted from BJP infighting in Nandigram.

"The incident is a fallout of BJP infighting in Nandigram. There are two BJP groups in Nandigram. With the vote on the 25th, BJP knows they will be defeated by TMC. This is pre-planned, and they are blaming TMC to tarnish its image. The administration is working to identify the culprits, and anyone involved will face the law," TMC leader Santanu Sen said.

The incident occurred shortly after TMC’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee held a meeting in Nandigram, where he targeted Adhikari. Banerjee claimed that the people of Nandigram would deliver their verdict in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. "The game that started in 2021 will end on 4 June," he stated.

At a public meeting in Kanthi, Adhikari blamed Banerjee, alleging, "He (Banerjee) protested in 80 booths yesterday. This incident happened at his instigation. We have named him in the FIR. The outcome of this incident will not be good."

Nandigram falls under the Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, which is set to go to polls on Saturday. TMC’s Debangshu Bhattacharya will contest against BJP’s Abhijit Gangopadhyay, a former Calcutta High Court judge.

Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.