The tussle between the Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party has turned into an all out war. After the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested two TMC leaders - Sudip Bandhyopadhyay and Tapas Pal - TMC supporters retaliated violently on Wednesday.
A BJP office was set on fire by alleged TMC cadres in Chinsurah in Hooghly and some party supporters also gheraoed BJP MP Babul Supriyo's house at the Kailash Bose Lane in North Kolkata.
BJP leaders claim that TMC vandalism took place at around 20 places across the state.
BJP and TMC have been at loggerheads for some time now and this is only the latest chapter. It must be remembered that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was the first major Opposition leader to slam Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetistion move. She took on Modi at a time when even the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party were waiting to see how the policy played out.
Since then the parties have clashed over once incident after another - from the communal violence in Dhulagarh to the movement of certain army battalions last month.
The BJP leadership in the state met the Governor on Wednesday and demanded that President's Rule be imposed in the state.
"We have already intimated our central leadership about the violence being perpetrated at several BJP
offices in the state. We have also informed the Governor as we feel that the state police is not providing adequate protection to us," said West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh.
On their part, TMC MPs shouted slogans outside the Prime Minister's residence in New Delhi and their cadres held protests at several places in Kolkata demanding the release of their leaders.
Meanwhile the state government has also written a letter to the Centre on Wednesday asking why central forces have been deployed at Central Avenue, near the BJP state office, without the permission of the state government.
"We have not received any intimation from the Centre regarding deployment of central forces in the state. The Governor, too, is unaware about such a deployment," said Partha Chatterjee, who is the parliamentary affairs minister in Mamata Banerjee's government.
This charge has been denied by the BJP.
"My Z plus security has been increased following the violence between TMC and BJP supporters at Central Avenue on Tuesday," said Rahul Sinha, BJP national secretary.
The case against Bandhyopadhyay
CBI sources said that after grilling Bandhyopadhyay, they found out that that he has links with Saradha chit fund company too. It has been alleged that Bandhyopadhyay gave favours from the group to many individuals and the group chairman got benefits from Bandhopadhyay as MP. It is being alleged that Bandhyopadhyay helped the group in expanding their business.
While CBI has asked for 12 days of custody for him a Bhubaneswar court has granted it just 6 days.
Apparently, the agency feels it could get some leads by interrogating Pal and Bandhyopadhyay together.
Sources in CBI also say the agency has found that a famous Tollywood actress helped the group chairman convert around Rs 300 crore into hawala transactions. A relative of the Tollywood actress, who is an NRI businessman based in Singapore, has allegedly helped the group too.
The CBI alleges that Bandhyopadhyay has taken benefits from Rose Valley tours and travels for a visit to Europe in 2012.
It is alleged that a cheque of around Rs 28 lakh was issued by the group in the name of MP and his wife.
When TMC MPs were protesting near Delhi's Lok Kalyan Marg, they were picked up by the Delhi police and taken to the Tughlaq Road police station.
West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra left a budget related meeting held in the national capital to join the protests outside Lok Kalyan Marg.