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Will keep coming: Delhi BJP team

The BJP team in Ilambazar on Sunday. Picture by Indrajit Roy

June 15: Central BJP leaders who visited the family of a Birbhum party supporter hacked to death by suspected Trinamul workers on June 7 today said they would keep coming to Bengal “until the terror is stopped”.

The team of BJP national vice-president Balbir Punj, MP Kirti Azad and the party’s minority cell president, Abdul Rashid Ansari, met the family of Sheikh Rahim in Ilambazar this afternoon. The visit, the second such trip in about a fortnight, signalled another instance of the party’s focus on Bengal, where its vote share has risen to 16.8 per cent in the Lok Sabha polls this year from 6.5 per cent in the 2011 Assembly elections.

“Terror is being unleashed on BJP workers across Bengal. Instead of arresting those involved in the murder of our party worker, protection is being given to them. This is undemocratic,” the BJP’s national vice-president Punj said.

“We will keep visiting the state until the terror is stopped,” he remarked, adding that the central team would submit a report to the Union government soon.

Sheikh Rahim, 55, who had switched over to the BJP from the CPM last month to escape alleged attacks by Trinamul workers, was hacked to death after being chased out of his home by suspected activists of the ruling party.

A BJP delegation from Delhi had on May 31 visited Sandeshkhali in North 24-Parganas, where 13 party activists suffered pellet injuries in an attack by suspected Trinamul workers.

The central team, led by BJP national vice-president Muqtar Abbas Naqvi, had met chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and threatened to seek Delhi’s intervention if action was not taken against those involved in the attack in 24 hours.

The deadline had prompted Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee to say “we are not scared of Delhi”.

Reacting to the BJP team’s Ilambazar visit today, Chatterjee said: “BJP leaders are coming here repeatedly and providing oxygen to the moribund CPM. Both the BJP and CPM are trying to create disturbance in a peaceful state.”

According to sources in Ilambazar, Rahim’s widow Hazera Bibi and daughter Anima Bibi told the team that local Trinamul leaders had threatened them with dire consequences if they did not withdraw their complaint by accepting money.

On their way back to Calcutta, the BJP leaders held a public meeting at Ilambazar More, where party MP Kirti Azad said: “Mamata Banerjee offers me bhai phonta every year. But that does not mean we will bow down to Trinamul’s terror tactics. We will protest this in a democratic manner.”

The BJP team today did not meet anyone in the Bengal government, unlike the last time when the delegation had met the chief secretary.