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BJP Woman Worker Killed in Nandigram; Tensions Rise Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Tensions flared in Nandigram in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district on Thursday, hours after a woman worker of the BJP was killed and seven others were injured after being attacked on Wednesday night, days before the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state. As the BJP took to the streets in protest […]

Tensions flared in Nandigram in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district on Thursday, hours after a woman worker of the BJP was killed and seven others were injured after being attacked on Wednesday night, days before the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

As the BJP took to the streets in protest on Thursday by torching shops and blocking roads using trees and setting them on fire, security was beefed up with Rapid Action Force and central forces being deployed, apart from the police.

Police sources said that no arrests have been made yet.

The incident sparked a blame game on Thursday with the BJP accusing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of orchestrating the attack and the ruling party denying the allegations, saying that it was a fallout of infighting within the local BJP.

“The incident took place in the Sonachura area on Wednesday night. The deceased has been identified as Rathibala Adi. As the condition of one of the injured is critical, he has been shifted to Kolkata,” a senior police official said. According to local sources, the critically injured victim is the son of the deceased BJP worker.

According to sources, BJP supporters were guarding the Mansapukur market area of Sonachuda on Wednesday night in the last leg of the election campaign when a group of bike-borne men allegedly attacked them with sharp weapons. When Rathibala Adi fell on the road bleeding, her son Sanjay Adri tried to save her and was grievously injured.

After villagers gathered on hearing the workers’ screams, the accused fled, sources said. The locals rushed the BJP workers to Nandigram Super Specialty Hospital where Rathibala Adi was declared dead. When her son’s condition deteriorated, he was shifted to Kolkata.

While BJP Leader of Opposition and Nandigram MLA Suvendhu Adhikari blamed the TMC for the “barbaric murder” and called the accused “jihadists”, the TMC denied the allegations.

“BJP workers were guarding the booth in the Mansabazar area of Sonachura in Nandigram last night. At that time, the miscreants jumped on them with sharp weapons. Seven people were seriously injured by sharp weapons. Rathibala Adi lost her life. The Trinamool committed this barbaric murder knowing defeat for sure. These jihadists do not hesitate to kill a woman,” Adhikari said in a post on X.

“The incident is a fallout of BJP infighting in Nandigram. There are two BJP groups in Nandigram. The vote is on the 25th. BJP knows they will be defeated by TMC. It is pre-planned and they are firing from TMC’s shoulder to malign TMC. It is TMC’s administration…efforts are on to identify the culprits and anyone found involved will face the law,” TMC leader Santanu Sen said.

The incident came hours after TMC’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee held a meeting in Nandigram where he targeted Adhikari, who had won the Nandigram seat in 2021 by a margin of 1,956 votes, alleging fraud. Banerjee asserted that the people of Nandigram would deliver their verdict in the Lok Sabha elections. “The game that started in 2021 will end on June 4,” he had said.

At a public meeting in Kanthi, Adhikari blamed Banerjee. “He (Banerjee) went yesterday to protest in 80 booths. This incident happened at (his) instigation…We have also named him in the FIR. The end result of this incident will not be good,” Adhikari said.

TMC leader Sheikh Sufian dismissed the “BJP lie”. “A fight broke out between new BJP and old BJP in the area in which one died. Every death is unfortunate and Abhishek Banerjee never asked people…Hundreds of houses of our supporters have been vandalised. I will ask the administration to conduct an impartial investigation,” Sufian added.

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

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BJP woman workerNandigramTDGThe Daily GuardianWest Bengal