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Mitra heckled by Trinamul workers

Chandan Mitra at the Hooghly district magistrate’s office on Tuesday. Picture by Ananda Das

Chinsurah, April 29: Chandan Mitra, the BJP candidate for the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat, was today gheraoed by nearly 200 Trinamul workers who alleged that he was violating the model code by distributing leaflets and campaigning on poll-eve.

Mitra, who was waiting at Chinsurah railway station along with a few BJP activists to catch a train to Howrah, was rescued by police who arrived after being alerted by Election Commission officials.

The Trinamul workers lodged a verbal complaint with local commission officials, alleging that Mitra was seen distributing leaflets among people at the railway station and giving a Rs 500 note to a labourer.

Mitra denied having distributed any such leaflet today. Commission rules prevent candidates from campaigning 48 hours before the polls.

The BJP candidate was not named in the FIR, which was drawn up by the sub-divisional officer of Chinsurah following the verbal complaint by the Trinamul workers and a leaflet of the BJP seized by commission officials from the station.

SDO Sudip Sarkar, who is also assistant returning officer for the Hooghly constituency, said: “We did not name Chandan Mitra in the FIR. It was filed against unknown persons. We have lodged the FIR on the basis of a complaint and a leaflet we have seized.”

Mitra was taken from the railway station to the Hooghly district magistrate’s office by the police and was released after an hour as there was no specific charge against him.

The BJP candidate said: “I was waiting for a train to Howrah. I bought a ticket at the station when some people recognised me and came up to me to talk. There was no question of distributing any leaflets. The Trinamul supporters gheraoed and abused me, and then told commission officials that I had been campaigning on poll-eve. The police came after some time and rescued me.”

Mitra added that once the elections are over, “I will take up the matter with my party leadership”. “I may also file a defamation suit against the Trinamul Congress.”

Trinamul Hooghly president Tapan Dasgupta said Mitra was seen “distributing leaflets and even money” among people at the railway station.

“The SDO should have named Mitra in the FIR,” he added.

Echoing Dasgupta, Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad leader Subhojit Halder alleged that the altercation between Mitra and Trinamul workers started around 10.30am.

“I found Chandan Mitra talking to some passengers and distributing leaflets. I called up our district vice-president Indrajit Dutta. Our supporters asked him how he could campaign publicly when the time for doing so was over,” Halder said.

Hooghly was a CPM bastion till 2009 but Trinamul snatched the Serampore and Hooghly Lok Sabha seats that year. The BJP was never a force to reckon with in the district, not having won any Assembly or Lok Sabha seat.