Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was attacked today while in Nandigram, where she had gone to file her nomination for the coming elections. Visuals from the spot showed security guards lifting and placing her on the backseat of a car. The 66-year-old — who has sustained many an injury earlier in the line of work — appeared pale, visibly shaken and in much pain.
The Chief Minister said she was pushed by four or five men while she was trying to get into her car. Pointing to her leg, she added, “See how it is swelling up”. Asked if it was a planned attack, she said, “Of course it is a conspirac… there was no policemen around me”.
Ms Banerjee, who was expected to spend the night in Nandigram, soon left for Kolkata, around 130 km away.
The attack came a day after the Election Commission replaced the Director General of Bengal Police, Mr Virender amid concerns of violence voiced the loudest by the BJP. An Indian Police Service officer of the 1987 batch, P Nirajnayan, has been named the new police chief.
Nandigram will be the site of the biggest battle in the state elections that begin by the end of this month. The Chief Minister has been challenged by her erstwhile aide Suvendu Adhikari, who is now representing the BJP.
Mr Adhikari had won Nandigram in 2016 on Ms Banerjee’s behalf. His followers have now dubbed her the “outsider”. Mr Adhikari has dubbed himself “bhoomiputra” (son of the soil).
The BJP, which had blamed the Trinamool after its chief JP Nadda’s convoy came under attack in Bengal in December, said today’s incident was a political stunt by the ruling party.