The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday ruled out the involvement of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an attack against West Bengal state chief and prominent opposition leader Mamata Banerjee. She suffered leg injuries while campaigning for the upcoming legislative polls on 10 March – she says she was assaulted by a "group of four or five people."
The ECI said in its report that Banerjee, India’s only woman state chief, sustained the injuries due to an “accident” and not an “attack.” Banerjee's outfit Trinamool Congress alleged that the BJP was behind the incident.
The BJP, on the other hand, denies the allegation and demanded the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) look into the matter.
Following the suspicion raised by Trinamool Congress, the ECI sought reports about the 10 March incident from the state administrations as well as poll observers in the eastern state, which is slated to go to election for its 294-member assembly between 27 March and April 29.
West Bengal is one of the few Indian states where the BJP has failed to make any significant political inroads, with exit polls predicting a victory for the incumbent Trinamool Congress.
While the report about the incident submitted by the state administration on Friday was described as “sketchy” by the ECI, the one submitted on Sunday claimed that the failure of Banerjee’s security team to manage the crowds was the reason she broke her leg.
The incident report prepared by special observer Ajay Nayak and special police observer Vivek Dubey details that Banerjee was hurt after her car door was slammed shut when the vehicle hit a wall in a narrow street. Shortly before she was meeting crowds in the town of Nandigram, where she was filing her election nomination papers.
After the ECI’s revelations, senior BJP leader and party’s West Bengal incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that Banerjee had falsely accused his party of the attack to gain “sympathy” from voters ahead of the state vote.
“The people of West Bengal will see through her lies. The Election Commission report clearly proves that she (Banerjee) was lying,” Vijayvargiya said on Sunday.