SONAMURA: The Congress in Tripura has accused the ruling BJP of attacking its Lok Sabha candidate from West Tripura constituency, Subal Bhowmik, when he was on his way to Agartala from Sipahijala, a charge denied by the ruling saffron party.
Bhowmik, who quit the BJP recently to join the Congress, claimed that a group of "50 activists of the saffron party" tried to block his way and damage his car at Melaghar Bazaar in the district, 10 km from here, on Thursday night.
"I had a meeting scheduled at Indiranagar village in Sipahijala district last night. As soon as I left the venue, a group of more than 50 activists of the BJP tried to attack me and damage my car. However, the police came to my rescue and dispersed them," Bhowmick told reporters.
The Congress had arranged for a meeting at local leader Idris Mia's residence in the district, where 70 activists of the CPI(M) joined the party.
They were handed over flags of the grand old party by Bhowmik.
Corroborating Bhowmik's claims, Mia said, "When Bhowmick left my house, the BJP activists wasted no time in attacking him. We all resisted, and the police also managed to push them back."
Poluram Das, the officer-in-charge of Melaghar police station, said a team of officers deployed in the area sprung into action as soon as it saw a mob approaching Bhowmik's car.
"We had information that Bhowmick could be attacked at Melaghar Bazar, so we deployed police officers in the area. When Bhowmick arrived in his car, about 50 unidentified youths started hurling stones at him. We immediately dispersed them," Das said, adding that no one was injured in the melee.
Condemning the attack, Congress vice-president Tapas Dey said a party delegation would meet Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti to insist that a "conducive environment" be created in the state for free and fair polls.
"The BJP goons have let loose a reign of terror in Tripura. The atmosphere in the state has been vitiated by them. They are intimidating the Congress workers. So, we have decided to meet the CEO to lodge our protest," Dey told reporters in Agartala.
Refuting the allegations, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said Friday that none of his party workers was involved in the attack.
"Our activists and party members had nothing to do with yesterday's attack. If someone is found guilty of attacking Bhowmik, the police should take action against him," he added.