The Election Commission on Sunday ruled out claims of attack on Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram earlier this week, while suspending senior officials over the incident in which the West Bengal Chief Minister was injured during a rally. However, a wheelchair-bound Banerjee, who has been claiming that it was a planned attack on her, said at a rally that there was more pain in her heart as democracy was being murdered.
The BJP and other opposition parties have alleged the incident was staged by the ruling camp to garner sympathy ahead of the Assembly election in the state even as they condemned the incident.
Here’s a timeline of the incident that may change the game of the hotly contested election, especially in Nandigram where Banerjee has fielded herself against her protégé-turned-bete noire Suvendu Adhikari.
March 10: Banerjee filed her nomination following a two-day campaign in the high-profile Nandigram assembly seat. Accompanied by party president Subrata Bakshi, the TMC supremo submitted her papers at the Haldia sub-divisional office here, after taking part in a 2-km roadshow.
– Hours later, around 6.15pm, Banerjee suffered injuries in her left leg after being allegedly attacked by “four-five men” in Nandigram. The incident happened when Banerjee was about to leave the Birulia area near Reyapara after praying at a local temple.
– Banerjee said she was standing outside her car with the door open and interacting with locals when a few people came around and pushed the car’s door and it hit her leg.
– Her security guards rushed to the spot and helped her get into the backseat. She told her security guards that she suffered a severe leg injury and also complained of chest pain.
– A visibly shaken chief minister told reporters her leg was swollen due to the “attack” and it was conspiracy. “There were no local policemen around me, neither the district police superintendent was present at the spot,” she said.
– Banerjee, who was supposed to stay the night in Nandigram in the Purba Medinipur district, was rushed back to Kolkata, around 130km away, through a green corridor.
– The chief minister was taken to the state-run SSKM Hospital for treatment where she underwent X-ray imaging.
– She was then taken to the Bangur Institute of Neurology for an MRI. The state government constituted a team of five senior doctors to treat Banerjee.
– Senior party leaders were present at the hospital, besides scores of party supporters who were shouting slogans against the BJP. Governor Jagdeep Dhakhankhar also visited the hospital but faced “go-back” chants from the TMC supporters.
– TMC supporters took to the streets across the state to protest against the alleged attack, blocking roads, burning tyres and raising slogans blaming the BJP.
– Several political leaders from across the country condemned the incident.
– The Election Commission sought a report from the state police on the alleged attack.
– The BJP demanded a CBI inquiry over the alleged assault to ascertain if the incident was “staged”, while a high-level TMC delegation met the Chief Electoral Officer of the state and insisted the Election Commission cannot absolve itself of culpability.
March 11: The EC sent a strongly worded letter to the Trinamool Congress saying it looks “undignified to even respond” to allegations that the poll panel is doing things in the state at the behest of a “particular party”.
March 12: The poll body received a report from the state administration that the EC described as “sketchy”.
– Banerjee was discharged from SSKM College and Hospital on Friday evening. The chief minister was seen coming out of the state-run super-specialty hospital in Kolkata on a wheelchair around 7pm.
– Doctors said the ‘traumatised’ chief minister was under observation for 48 hours. After examining her health parameters, they decided to release Banerjee after she ‘repeatedly’ insisted on the same.
– Banerjee issued a video statement while lying on a hospital bed, requesting people to stay calm and not to indulge in any law and order violation.
March 13: On Saturday, poll observers submitted a report to the EC stating the incident was an accident and not a planned attack.
March 14: The EC held a meeting over the report submitted by West Bengal chief secretary and the joint report by special general observers Ajay Nayak and Vivek Dube over the incident that happened on March 10.
– Later, Director Security Vivek Sahay and Purba Medinipur’s Superintendent of Police Pravin Prakash were suspended for failing to ensure the CM’s security.
– District Magistrate Vibhu Goel was also transferred to a non-election post, it said.
– Four days after suffering multiple injuries, Banerjee attended rally in Kolkata on a wheelchair and says she has to continue her fight as democracy in under threat under the present regime.