CPIM says vandalisation of Vidyasagar's
bust 'despicable', demands EC probe



Kolkata, May 15 : The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday strongly condemned the vandalisation of the bust of 19th-century social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and demanded the Election Commission to launch an investigation into the violent clashes during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow.

"During Amit Shah's roadshow, a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised. We condemn this despicable act. Vidyasagar was an icon of the Bengal Renaissance. He was a leader in modernising our society and gave a thrust to our national freedom. This is a serious matter," CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters here.

Describing the incident as a "serious matter", Yechury said CCTV footage should be examined by the EC, adding that the poll body should take "appropriate punitive action" against perpetrators.

"EC should take cognisance of this serious matter. The CCTV footage should be investigated. If the police were not doing its job properly, they should be probed and action should be taken against them," he said.

On Tuesday, clashes broke out after miscreants threw sticks at Shah's convoy.

The incident took place on College Street when TMC supporters allegedly began sloganeering. Furious BJP supporters responded by pelting stones and sticks at the Calcutta University gates, resulting in chaos and mayhem.

During the clashes, Vidyasagar's bust was vandalized. While BJP accused the Mamata Banerjee government of "murdering democracy", the TMC claimed that the saffron party instigated the violence.

Slamming Banerjee's recent comment that voting for CPIM meant voting for BJP, Yechury asserted that the Left Front is "very much in the electoral fray" and "surprising results" would come from West Bengal on May 23.

"I am surprised by the ridiculous statement made by the Chief Minister. Both BJP and TMC are running a deliberate campaign saying that it is a fight between TMC and BJP only. Left Front is very much in the fray and is contesting on all seats in Bengal. There will be surprising results in Bengal. This is not polarisation between TMC and BJP," the CPIM leader said.

Alleging that free and fair polls were not being held in the state, Yechury said voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise due to booth capturing.

"In the last few phases, there has been a huge disturbance where many booths have been captured. Voters are not being allowed to vote. We brought this matter up to the EC. But unfortunately, nothing has been done," he added.

The BJP has urged the EC to bar Banerjee from campaigning ahead of the last and final phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, alleging a breakdown of constitutional machinery in West Bengal.

Voting for nine seats in the state will be held in the seventh and final phase of the general elections on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23. 

RSS-BJP systematically

attacking Bengal

New Delhi, May 15 : Accusing the BJP-RSS of systematically attacking Bengal and its ethos, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury Wednesday said the saffron party was opposed to the very ideas propagated by social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, whose statue was desecrated in the violence during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata.

BJP and TMC supporters Tuesday fought pitched battles on the streets of Kolkata during a massive roadshow by Shah, who escaped unhurt but was forced to cut short the jamboree and had to be escorted to safety by police.

"Not about just a statue, but a systematic attack on Bengal. One of the biggest symbols of the Bengal renaissance is what BJP-RSS have attacked. These obscurantists have always opposed Vidyasagar's ideas. But Bengal will not succumb," Yechury tweeted.

While both the BJP and the ruling TMC has begun a blame game on the issue, Yechury said that the violent clashes between the two parties was "hitting at the heart of Bengal and its core."

"Vidyasagar was conferred the title of the ocean of knowledge. A leading figure in the Bengal renaissance, he stood for progress, pathbreaking reform and enlightenment. It is very clear why the Sangh parivar would seek destruction of his ideas," he tweeted.


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