West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and other Trinamool Congress leaders have changed their profile pictures to Vidyasagar's image after a bust of the 19th-century social reformer was allegedly vandalised by BJP workers during clashes at Amit Shah's rally in Kolkata on Tuesday.
A college named after Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, a key figure in the Bengal renaissance, was ransacked in the clashes that ensued between the BJP and TMC during BJP president Amit Shah's road show in the state capital.
Attacking the BJP, Trinamool spokesperson, Derek O'Brien called Amit Shah "ignorant" and asked him to "try his luck somewhere else".
Now, Mamata Banerjee, Derek O' Brien, MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Abhishek Banerjee and several others changed their profile pictures on Twitter to condemn the vandalisation of Vidyasagar's statue.
Derek said, "In the presence of Amit Shah, Vidyasagar's statue inside the Vidyasagar College was vandalised by supporters and goons of the BJP brought in from neighbouring states. Bengal will give a loud and clear message when those ballot boxes will open. Go back Amit Shah, try your luck somewhere else."
Condemning the demolition of the statue, the West Bengal Congress attacked both BJP and Trinamool and said, "Trinamool and BJP clash demolishes Vidyasagar Statue in Vidyasagar College today at Kolkata. The man who fought for women's education, started remarriage for widows and many more. Did you want these creatures of dark ages to rule u?"
The incident evoked reactions from various political quarters including CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury.
Sitaram Yechury slammed the BJP-RSS for vandalising the statue. He tweeted, "BJP-RSS think nothing of when they vandalise the historic Vidyasagar College, break Vidyasagar statue. This is their advocacy of India's civilisational heritage? Attacking knowledge is central to getting their poisonous project going. Bengal will reject the destruction they offer."The incident has also sparked massive outrage on Twitter, with people slamming the BJP for the alleged involvement of its workers in the demolition of the statue.
There was also a scuffle when a group of people shouted slogans against Amit Shah outside the Calcutta University campus and showed him black flags during the roadshow. Mamata Banerjee later visited the university campus where she launched a fierce attack on Amit Shah.
Mamata Banerjee said, "Does he (Shah) know the heritage of the Calcutta University? Is he aware of the famous personalities who had studied here? He should be ashamed of this attack," she said, adding that there will be a protest rally on Wednesday.
The TMC leader also criticised the Election Commission for not acting against the BJP, which she said is spending huge sums of unaccounted money in the elections.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajesh Kumar, who too was present with the chief minister at the Vidyasagar College, said that more than 100 people have been taken into custody.
Meanwhile, the BJP hit back and urged the Election Commission to bar West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from campaigning in the state and alleged that "constitutional machinery" has collapsed here.A party delegation, including Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, rushed to the EC, seeking its immediate intervention to ensure free and fair polls in the state.
The BJP also demanded that "miscreants" and "history-sheeters" present in the constituencies, which go to polls in the last phase of the Lok Sabha election on May 19, should be arrested and removed from these places. Central forces should also carry out flag march in the poll-bound seats, the party told the EC.
Clashes between BJP and TMC was triggered when Amit Shah's convoy was pelted with stones allegedly by TMC supporters from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College, officials said.
Furious BJP supporters retaliated and were seen exchanging blows with their TMC rivals outside the college entrance.
Several motorcycles parked outside were vandalised and set ablaze.