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Scared Left trumps up lies, charges BJP - The Telegraph

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
31 January 1997

Title : Scared Left trumps up lies, charges BJP
Author :
Publication : The Telegraph
Date : January 31, 1997

The BJP today charged the Left Front government with fabricating
the reports of "attacks" on three state minister at the New Farakka
station on Tuesday by the party's supporters.

The "claims" of the ministers are an attempt to discredit the
success of the BJP rally to protest the Ganga water agreement, it

Saffron sees red

In a statement from New Delhi, the BJP general secretary and
spokesperson, Mr Sushma Swaraj said "the CPM-led Left Front is
badly rattled by the turnout at the rally...none of its leaders,
including Mr Jyoti Basu, could have imagined that 70,000 people
would gather to raise their voice against the gifting away of Ganga
waters" to Bangladesh.

The state social welfare minister, Mr Biswanath Choudhury,
agriculture minister, Mr Biren Moitra, and minister of state for
health, Ms Minati Ghosh, yesterday said they were among many
passengers who were "attacked and robbed" by BJP supporters
returning from the Farakka rally.

These "wild allegations" are methods of diverting attention from
the main issue, Ms Swaraj said. She, however, did admit that the
"irate crowd did break some windowpanes of an AC coach."

Why didn't the ministers travelling on Gaur Express (Mr Choudhury
and Ms Ghosh) complain to Mr L.K. Advani, BJP president, who was on
the same train she asks. "Why did they make their allegations after
reaching Calcutta?"

She said thousands of men, women and children and come by boat, bus
and train to protest the Ganga treaty. "The railway authorities
detained several trains at various places for hours." As a result
the returning crowds swelled on the platform.

There was not power at the station, adding to confusion when the
Gaur Express arrived. Partymen were enraged when they found all
compartments locked from inside, leaving then on the platform.

The BJP state president, Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, said in Calcutta
that the incidents at the station were the result of "the abysmal
failure of the administration to make adequate arrangements for
such a big rally." The public address system also failed.

Mr Shastri pointed out when the Left parties or the Congress
organise rallies, supporters travel in trains without reservation,
inconveniencing passengers. "Why doesn't anyone ask questions then?
Why are BJP rallyists tragetted?"

Left in the Cold

He, however, regretted the actions of those partymen who caused
damage and inconvenience, which were "a natural outburst at being
locked out in the biting cold and darkness." The party condemns the
"cock-and-bull stories of the ministers and pledges not to be
deterred by propaganda," he said.

Front leaders, however, continue to be piqued by the "hooliganism
of BJP supporters."

'Right is wrong'

The home minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharya, said this is the
first time that such an incident had happened in the state. "We may
have take legal steps to stop this," he stated.

He has sent senior police officials, including two DIGs, to Farakka
to find out the answers to a number of queries. For one, why were
there no police arrangement either on the trains or the platforms,
particularly in the light of the BJP rally.

"The trains are supposed to have mobile patrols...where were they?"
is another unanswered question he raised.

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