New Delhi: The battle between West Bengal's warring political parties, the Trinamool Congress and the CPM, reached New Delhi on Tuesday as suspected SFI activists heckled a TMC minister outside the Planning Commission building and an angry Mamata Banerjee blamed it on CPM's "dirty politics". As the protesters chanted "Mamata Banerjee hai hai (Mamata down down), TMC hai hai, Hatyari Mamata sharm karo (have shame, killer Mamata)", an agitated Chief Minister walked into the building shouting, "This is uncivilised behaviour".
"You know why they are protesting. I have 10 lakh people with me. I can bring them to Delhi. They don't want development of West Bengal," she said. Irked by the scene that unfolded outside, she complained to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, "You have created a new precedent. My minister was assaulted. This is scandalous. There were 20 hooligans. Can you stop development of a state like this?" Mamata said.
"We were not allowed to enter the Planning Commission. The Left will never come back in West Bengal. It's dirty politics," a furious Mamata added.
Mamata later branded the protests as "mere hooliganism". "This is mere hooliganism. This is not protest. I could have been killed. This is the situation outside Planning Commission in New Delhi. Where's the security?" Mamata said, in a veiled attack on Ahluwalia, who later apologised for the violence. "We have tendered an apology, although the fault is not ours," he said.
Meanwhile, in what may be seen as a revenge attack, TMC workers ransacked CPM offices in several districts of West Bengal later in the evening. The attacks took place in Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura, Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Cooch Behar and Darjeeling districts, CPI(M) sources said.
A former party MLA Akkel Ali and two local leaders
Sheikh Sahabuddin and Durjay Mukherjee were injured and hospitalised in an alleged attack by Trinamool men at a party office in Bagnan in Howrah district.
CPI (M) offices were vandalised Udaynarayanpur, Salkia and Domjur in Howrah district. Six CPI(M) offices at Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas district were burnt down and the car of former minister and CPI(M) leader Sudarshan Roychowdhury damaged at Serampore in Hooghly district, sources said.
Another ex-minister and veteran leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah's car was attacked with bombs at Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district, they said.
In Nadia district, CPI(M) offices in Chakdaha, Kalyani, Shantipur, Mohonpur, Gayespur, Madanpur, Kataganj, Haringhata and Hanskhali were ransacked.
District CPI(M) Secretary Sumit Dey alleged five party workers were injured in the attacks, a charge denied by TMC district leaders. CPI(M) workers were driven out of party offices and furniture damaged at Haripal, Tarakeswar, Pursura, and Chunchura in Hooghly district, the sources said.
Police said in Pursura, seven bombs were found from a CPI(M) office after receiving a complaint from Trinamool. CPI(M) Bankura district leader Amiyo Patro alleged around 30 armed TMC workers raided the Marxist party office at Taldangra with the police remaining a mute spectator. In Birbhum district, CPI(M) leader Debashis Ganguly alleged TMC men from a procession came and vandalised the party's zonal office in Suri.
The Trinamool workers also blocked rail services at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas.
The reports of the attacks came even as Mamata Banerjee cancelled her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh citing health reasons. Sources said that a doctor was attending to her and her minister Amit Mitra, who was manhandled during the protests. Mitra was reportedly hit in the chest and had his clothes torn during the demonstration.
An FIR has now been lodged at the Parliament Street Police Station against the protesters. It, however, does not mention whether they were SFI activists.
SFI, however, has owned up to the protests. SFI leader Ritabrata Banerjee said, "Our protest is to show Mamata Banerjee that (Kolkata SFI activist) Sudipto Gupta's death was not a petty matter. People are deeply concerned about what is happening in West Bengal."
SFI has alleged that 22-year-old Gupta died after he was beaten up by the police which has maintained that he was killed in an accident. Banerjee had termed the incident as "unfortunate" but later called it a "petty" matter, drawing criticism from the Left.
With additional information from PTI