Preliminary medical tests conducted on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee late on Wednesday night sustained “severe bony injuries” in her left ankle and foot, and injuries in the right shoulder, forearm and neck, a senior doctor of the state-run SSKM hospital said. “CM complained of chest pain, breathlessness since the incident. She is kept under close watch for 48 hours,” the doctor added.
Mamata Banerjee, 66, said last evening she was pushed by four or five people against her car and had the door shut on her at a time when there were no police personnel around her.
Looking pale and pointing to her leg, she said, “See how it is swelling up”. Asked if it was a planned attack, she said, “Of course it is a conspiracy… there were no policemen around me”. She appeared to be in pain while speaking.
She had plans to stay the night in Nandigram after filing her election papers but was taken to a hospital in Kolkata, 130 km away, after the incident.
The Chief Minister was taken through a battery of tests including neurological tests and an X-ray of her left leg. Late in the night, she was sent to the Bangur Institute of Neurosciences at SSKM for an MRI. According to sources, she has sustained injuries on lower limbs which are swollen and painful.
The BJP, which had blamed the Trinamool after its chief JP Nadda’s convoy came under attack in Bengal in December, called the incident a stunt by Bengal’s ruling party. “Not one eye witness seems to corroborate Mamata Banerjee’s ‘attack’ version. People of Nandigram are upset and angry at her for blaming them and bringing disrepute,” tweeted Bengal BJP.
“Is it Taliban that her convoy was attacked? Huge police force accompanies her. Who can get near her?” said state BJP vice-president Arjun Singh. “Four IPS officers are her security in-charge and must be suspended. Attackers don’t appear out of nowhere, they have to be arrested… She did drama for sympathy,” he added.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was seen in hospital with her left leg in a cast in a photo tweeted by her nephew Abhishek Banerjee this morning, a day after she alleged an attack in Nandigram where she filed her nomination for the state election later this month.
Abhishek Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress MP, shared the image with a message targeting the BJP, which has mounted an aggressive campaign to try and oust the two-time Chief Minister and her Trinamool Congress from power in Bengal.
“BJP brace yourselves to see the power of people of BENGAL on Sunday, May 2nd. Get ready,” he tweeted.
“I unequivocally condemn the cowardly & despicable attack on @MamataOfficial ji by goons. PS-WB police is now controlled by EC which is directed by BJP. Nation knows tht ppl who hv no belief in democracy can stoop to any level to vent their frustration of fighting a lost battle. I wish @MamataOfficial ji a speedy recovery! Those behind this attack must not be spared,” Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav tweeted.
Congress leader Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted, “I wish @MamataOfficial Didi a speedy recovery. Those behind this must not be spared. Didi, you have tough battle to fight ahead & you will surely emerge victorious! My very good wishes for you and again wish you a speedy recovery.”
“I strongly condemn the attack on Mamta Didi. Those responsible should be immediately arrested and punished. I pray for her speedy recovery,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Chowdhury said Ms Banerjee was trying to “gain sympathy” before the election. “She planned this drama before the election after sensing difficulties in Nandigram. She is not only a Chief Minister, but a ‘police mantra’ too. Can you believe that there was no police with the ‘police mantri’?” Mr Chowdhury told reporters.
The attack came a day after the Election Commission replaced the Director General of Bengal Police, Mr Virender, amid allegations of violence voiced by the BJP. An IPS officer of the 1987 batch, P Niranjana, has been named the new police chief.
The Election Commission has asked the Bengal administration for a report by Friday on the attack on the Chief Minister who has Z-Plus security.
The incident intensifies a nerve-wracking political battle in Nandigram, which has become the epicenter of the Mamata Banerjee versus BJP fight that is the theme of the Bengal election starting March 27.
The Chief Minister has been challenged in Nandigram by her former aide-turned-BJP rival Suvendu Adhikari.
Mr Adhikari won the Nandigram seat in 2016 as a Trinamool candidate and his supporters have pitched Mamata Banerjee as an “outsider”. Fighting that label, the Chief Minister has been campaigning in the area that catapulted her party to power in 2011 following an agitation against farmland acquisition.
Elections in Bengal will be held in a record eight rounds over 33 days. The results will be declared on May 2.