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Attack on CPM on campaign trail

Tamluk, May 9: A CPM Lok Sabha candidate and Left leaders campaigning for him were assaulted today after they accused Trinamul Congress MP Sisir Adhikari and those close to him of helping the Saradha Group’s business operations in Contai.

The assault on the CPM’s Contai candidate, Tapas Sinha, who was hospitalised with a broken arm after being beaten up with rods and sticks, came hours after the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the Saradha default scam.

Sisir Adhikari denied Trinamul’s involvement in the attack and also said he and his son, Tamluk MP Subhendu Adhikari, “have always spoken against the fund-mobilising companies that tried to cheat people”.

CPM supporters protested in front of Bhagabanpur police station against the attack on Sinha, who is admitted to the Bhagabanpur block hospital. They broke the windshield of a police vehicle and some furniture inside the station.

Sinha, acting district CPM secretary Prasanta Pradhan and local party leaders were campaigning when, around 11.30am, they came to know of the Supreme Court order. The CPM leaders began criticising a section of Trinamul leaders and accused them of aiding Saradha’s foray into Contai.

CPM zonal committee member Satyaranjan Das said: “We were campaigning from a pick-up truck. As soon as we received the news of the Supreme Court verdict, we stepped up our pitch against Trinamul. We accused the Trinamul candidate of Contai and local leaders close to him of facilitating the Saradha Group’s business in the area. Our candidate and other CPM leaders said those involved in the Saradha scam would be arrested. It was then that the Trinamul activists attacked us.”

Acting CPM district secretary Pradhan alleged that Trinamul activists armed with sticks and rods climbed onto the truck and started beating up the Left leaders.

“I was hit on my back, hands and legs. One of the Trinamul workers tried to hit Tapas on his head with a stick. Tapas raised his right arm to defend himself. He suffered an injury in his arm. Both of us were admitted to Bhagabanpur block hospital,” Pradhan said.

A doctor at Bhagabanpur block hospital said Sinha had suffered a fracture in his right arm. “He also suffered injuries in his head. We have referred him to Tamluk district hospital for a CT scan,” he said.

Sinha said he and his party had the right to campaign anywhere in the constituency. “We have complained to the Election Commission,” he said.

Sisir Adhikari, who is contesting the Contai seat, said Trinamul had “nothing to do” with the assault. “It is a fallout of the CPM’s internal feud. My son Subhendu and I have always spoken against the fund-mobilising companies that tried to cheat people. So, people will not believe these canards against us,” Sisir Adhikari, the East Midnapore Trinamul president, said.

The police have started a probe based on an FIR by the CPM against 30 Trinamul supporters.