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Central forces colluding with BJP: TMC hits back over Kolkata violence

After BJP accused TMC of perpetrating violence in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee's party has hit back by accusing the central forces of acting in collaboration with the BJP.

Earlier in the day, BJP president Amit Shah had said that he escaped safely after clashes erupted at his Kolkata roadshow on Tuesday only because CRPF was deployed in the area.

"The central forces are working in cahoots with the BJP in West Bengal," TMC spokesperson Derek O'Brien claimed. Addressing a press conference, he showed pictures of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh is seen with personnel of the central force to corroborate his accusation. "They were walking together and saying 'vote for BJP'," Derek alleged.

The two parties also sparred over vandalisation of Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar's statue on during the BJP rally. Derek O'Brien and his party said BJP workers were behind the incident, a claim refuted by Amit Shah at his media address.

"There were slogans being raised, 'Vidyasagar Shesh, Where is the Josh?' (Vidyasagar finished, where is the pride?)," said the TMC lawmaker.

Contradicting BJP's claims about not having keys of Vidyasagar College, Derek termed it a "childish argument". "They climbed the walls and the gates to engage in vandalism," he said.

"The streets of Kolkata are filled with sadness today. BJP president Amit Shah does what he does, with his hired goons from outside of Bengal. He tried to justify what happened yesterday, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar has discovered the Bengali alphabet and wrote 'Barna-Parichaya'. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is the leader of the 'Bengal Renaissance'," the TMC spokesperson hailed the reformist.

On being asked about the widespread violence in the election process in West Bengal, Derek O'Brien cited the example of Tripura. "There was re-polling at 6 booths in West Bengal, as compared to 170 in Tripura where BJP is in power."

Thirty-three seats have voted in West Bengal in the first six phases, remaining 9 will go to polls on May 19 in the last round. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.