Political temperatures soared in West Bengal on Thursday after CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra was allegedly heckled by ruling Trinamool Congress workers in East Midnapore district's Haldia during a by-poll rally.Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders who protested were arrested while the party also moved the Election Commission demanding removal of two police officers present at the scene and arrest of the culprits. The Trinamool, however, denied its involvement and claimed it was the result of the CPI-M's internal fight.Mishra had gone to Haldia to take part in a rally in support of Left Front-nominated CPI-M candidate Mandira Panda ahead of the Nov 19 Lok Sabha by-elections in Tamluk constituency."The Trinamool supporters, led by local leader Ajijul Rahaman, attacked our rally near Ranichawk without any provocation. They heckled a veteran leader like Surjya Kanta Mishra and tried to beat us up," said CPI-M state secretariat member Robin Deb, who was also present in the rally.
Mishra, who was cordoned off by his party cadres, said: "There is nothing uncommon in this attack. Our comrades and the common people are regularly facing such attacks for the last five and a half years (during the Trinamool rule)."Within hours of the alleged incident, the CPI-M leaders hit the streets in Kolkata and staged a demonstration at the city hub Dharamatala.
Police arrested 30 protesters including Left Front legislature party leader Sujon Chakraborty, secretariat member Shyamal Chakraborty and former minister Anadi Sahoo.Sujon Chakraborty accuse the police of cane charging and beating up the protestors and announced a statewide protest on Friday.Left Front Chairman Biman Bose held a media meet and alleged a conspiracy hatched by the Trinamool."Despite their conspiracy, they couldn't stop the rally. So they attacked the rally and assaulted Mishra," he said.In a letter to the Election Commission, Bose urged it to hold an inquiry and complained about the "partisan role" played by two police officers.
"No free and fair by-election is possible unless Tanmoy Mukherjee, SDPO, Haldia, and Kazi, Additional Superintendent of Police, are immediately removed from their present posts and the culprits arrested," the memorandum said.Local Trinamool leaders, however, denied the party's involvement."CPI-M's allegation is completely baseless. Trinamool supporters are by no means involved in today's incident. As far I know, the problem was among their party workers," said Trinamool candidate Dibyendu Adhikari."The CPI-M has become completely distant from the people. They are trying to hog the political limelight by causing these problems," said Adhikari, also a legislator from Kanthi South constituency.The CPI-M politburo, on the other hand, condemned the attack on Mishra "by workers belonging to the Trinamool Congress"."What makes the attack more reprehensible is that it took place in the presence of senior police officers. This is the latest incident in the continued campaign of violence that the Trinamool Congress has unleashed against the CPI-M and the Left Front in West Bengal," it added.