Calcutta, June 5: The Bengal government was battling embarrassment this evening after the BJP claimed that Raj Bhavan had invited the party’s state leader to brief the governor on post-poll violence in North 24-Parganas.
Raj Bhavan had neither denied nor confirmed the BJP’s version till late this evening.
Governors usually keep themselves abreast of important developments in the state so that the Centre could be apprised if any information is sought.
But the process draws more attention than usual if Raj Bhavan seeks information on its own from an Opposition party, and the government of the day vehemently tries to discount the possibility of such an initiative.
“This can’t be. The governor could not have invited a leader of a political party to Raj Bhavan to gather inputs on allegations of violence on activists of a political party,” Trinamul secretary-general and education minister Partha Chatterjee said tonight.
“We got a call from Raj Bhavan to meet the governor,” BJP state president Rahul Sinha said this afternoon while leaving the governor’s house after a meeting.
Told that Sinha categorically mentioned that he had got a call from Raj Bhavan, minister Chatterjee said: “He must have sought an appointment from the governor and so he was allotted time. Nothing more should be read into it.”
Sinha said he and his party colleagues spent around 45 minutes at Raj Bhavan to brief governor M.K. Narayanan about the violence in Sandeshkhali where 13 party workers suffered pellet wounds at the hands of alleged Trinamul supporters last week.
The BJP state chief said the delegation also handed over a letter listing other attacks on party workers across the state.
Narayanan was away in Darjeeling when the Sandeshkhali attack took place. He returned to Calcutta the day before yesterday.
In between, a team of BJP leaders from Delhi had visited the site of the clash.
“The incident got prominence because a Left delegation also highlighted the alleged atrocities in Sandeshkhali when they called on the governor yesterday,” said a BJP leader.
Against the backdrop of any disclaimer from Raj Bhavan till late in the evening, some Trinamul leaders said the governor could be keeping himself informed in case the Centre sought details in the wake of a visit by a BJP team from Delhi.
Before leaving Bengal, the BJP team had met chief secretary Sanjay Mitra and sought prompt action. At a media conference later, BJP national spokespersons Meenakshi Lekhi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi warned that they would take the matter up with the PMO and the Union home ministry if the accused were not arrested within 24 hours.
A police officer said only three persons had been arrested so far in the Sandeshkhali case, in which at least 13 persons were injured.
BJP leaders – both in Bengal and Delhi – said that they were keeping tabs on what the state administration was doing in connection with the Sandeshkhali incident.
“We could not pursue the matter as most of our leaders were preoccupied in Delhi with the swearing-in-ceremony of party MPs and more recently with the untimely death of Gopinath Munde. But that doesn’t mean that we would not pursue the case,” said a central BJP leader.
“We shall submit a report to the PMO and the Union home ministry in a day or two on the state government’s delay in taking action against those involved in the Sandeshkhali violence,” added the central BJP leader.