Arrests, bombs and comebacks: A-B-C of weekend politics in Bengal


On Saturday night, Calcutta Police arrested Rakhal Bera, a key aide of Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, in connection with a job racket. Bera was picked up after a complaint was filed by one Sujit Dey, a resident of North 24 parganas. Dey claimed Bera had made him a false promise of giving him a job in the irrigation department in 2019.

It is noteworthy that Suvendu Adhikari was the irrigation minister in the Mamata Banerjee administration till he switched sides from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the run up to the Assembly elections.

A police official told The Telegraph, “According to the complaint, sometime between July 2019 and September 2019, accused Rakhal Bera and co-accused Chanchal Nandi (yet to be arrested) had organised a purported government job camp inside a flat in Block B of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Cooperative Housing Society on Manicktala Road,” adding, “They had collected Rs 2 lakh from the complainant in exchange of a job as group D staff in the irrigation department, but he never got any job.”

Police have filed a case under charges of cheating, forgery, fraud and criminal conspiracy. Bera was produced before a court on Sunday and remanded to police custody till June 12.

Meanwhile, BJP activist Jayprakash Yadav was killed on Sunday afternoon after bike-borne assailants hurled crude bombs at him in the Muktarpur area of the communally sensitive Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas. Yadav’s mother and two others were injured in the attack. The BJP has accused the TMC of killing Yadav.

West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar called it “post poll retributive violence” and tweeted disturbing visuals of the scene of the explosion. He has asked the Chief Secretary to brief him on the law-and-order situation.

Explosives were also recovered from a spot located close to the BJP office in Hastings, after a tip off from military intelligence agencies. This prompted State BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh to ask a series of questions, “Why didn’t the CID or the police know about this? Who is responsible for bringing the explosives? Were these brought and stored for use during elections and did the plan fail because of the presence of central forces?”  

A senior police official told media-persons, “This is a serious matter and we are taking it up on a priority basis. CCTV footage is being scanned.” No arrests had been made till Sunday evening as per The Telegraph. 

Meanwhile, nine TMC turncoats returned to the party. They are nine out of the total ten members of the Vetaguri-1 gram panchayat that falls under the Dinhata assembly constituency. Dinhata is part of the Cooch Behar parliamentary constituency that is represented by BJP MP Nishit Pramanik.

In 2019, Pramanik was previously with the TMC, but had defected to the BJP and contested parliamentary elections. All 10 members of the Vetaguri-1 gram panchayat seat had followed his lead then and switched sides to the BJP. Pramanik also contested the recently held assembly elections from Dinhata and won by a slim margin of just over 50 votes! BJP then asked him to vacate his MLA seat to hold on to his MP seat, thus necessitating a by-election.

But after the TMC trounced the BJP in the recently held assembly elections, the nine turncoats began to rethink their political future and decided to return to the TMC. The tenth, Prabhat Das, who is Pramanik’s father-in-law has not come back to the TMC. At present BJP only holds power in three out of the total 128 gram panchayat seats in Cooch Behar.


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