BJP supporters chanted “Jai Shri Ram” as activists dressed up as Lord Ram, Sita and Hanuman walked along with ‘gada’ (mace), not often seen on the streets of the metropolis where a distinct Bengali culture exists. There were Sikh men dancing to Bhangra beats.
Shah meandered through Kolkata on a truck, decked up with marigold, as the crowd carried BJP flags.
It is not clear how the violence started.
According to news agency ANI, some miscreants first started throwing sticks near College Street in which the BJP president Amit Shah was travelling in. Angry BJP supporters responded by throwing stones and sticks at the university gates. As tension mounted, the police pushed the All India Trinamool Student Congress activists inside the university campus and closed the gates.
Amit Shah’s roadshow covered about 4 km from Esplanade at the centre of the city to Swami Vivekananda’s residence in north Kolkata. College Street formed a stretch towards the end of the route.
College Street is the education hub of Kolkata and is lined with institutions such as Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, Calcutta University, Presidency College, Sanskrit Collge, Vidyasagar College and a famous book hub consisting of hundreds of book retailers and publishers.
However, the ruling party’s student union leaders kept shouting “Chowkidar Chor Hai” slogans from behind the gates. BJP supporters countered them by shouting “Jai Shri Ram”.
The BJP supporters tried to smash through the barricade and enter the university campus, but were thwarted by cops who stopped short of baton charging.
A section of the BJP supporters also threw stones and bottles at the TMCP supporters who were separated from them by the iron gates of the university campus and a wall of policemen trying to contain the crowd.
Earlier. the BJP chief expressed confidence that a political change will happen in the state soon.
“The way people of West Bengal have come out today, it shows that the day is not far when the change will happen,” Shah told ANI as he waved to crowds that had gathered on both sides of the streets.
BJP alleged that its party posters and flags were removed by TMC workers and police ahead of Shah’s roadshow.
“Mamata ji’s goons and police removed posters and flags of our party. They fled soon after we reached here,” BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya told ANI.
Since the Lok Sabha polls began on April 10, BJP and TMC have been at loggerhead in West Bengal
Voting for nine seats in the state will be held in the seventh and final phase of the general election on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.