After BJP’s stupendous victory in Tripura assembly polls, political tensions between BJP and Left reached a new low as workers and supporters affiliated to BJP were seen demolishing Communist icon Lenin’s statue. The said incident happened at 2.30 pm on Monday in Belonia town, 48 hours after the assembly election results were announced, celebrating BJP workers and supporters brought it down with the help of a JCB amid cries of “Bharat Mata ki jai’’.
While the CPI(M), which lost power in the state after 25 years, described the incident as an example of “Communism phobia”, the BJP claimed that the statue was brought down by people “oppressed” by the Left.
“Eyewitnesses told me that after the statue fell, its head was dismembered from the body. And then, the BJP workers played football with Lenin’s head,’’ claimed Tapas Datta, CPI(M)’s Belonia sub-division secretary, reported The Indian Express.
South Tripura SP Ipper Monchak said the driver of the JCB, Ashish Pal, was arrested in the evening and let off on bail. “The statue remains where it has fallen. It will be removed by police tomorrow and given to the municipality for storage,” said Monchak. BJP south district secretary Raju Nath, who has been blamed by the CPI(M) of having planned the incident, said the statute fell because of an “overflow of anger”.
“For years, there has been resentment against this statue of Lenin. It was built by the municipality and funded by the taxpayers’ money. Why should the taxpayer have to finance a statue of Lenin? Even if it was a statue of our former CPI(M) chief minister Nripen Chakraborty, nobody would have touched it — he was one of us and belonged to the country. But what does this foreigner Lenin have to do with our people?’’ said Nath.
CPM on their part have said that this is a sign of things to come and have blamed new government’s vendetta to tarnish left ideology and beliefs.
Describing the events leading to the statue’s fall, BJP’s Nath said, “We were carrying out a victory rally this afternoon. When we reached College Square, there was a bulldozer that was trying to make its way through the crowds. In the process, the driver lost control and hit the railing around the statue. When this happened, the supporters surrounded the driver and made him bring down the statue. This was not an unnatural feeling for these people who have been oppressed by the CPI(M) for so long.”
Nath further added and denied charges that the JCB was hired by his party. “The houses near the statue belong to families opposed to the Left. Every week, the CPI(M) would hold gatherings and events near the statue and impose their ideology on these people. They’d had enough,” he said.
SP Monchak said the police station where the JCB driver was held “had been gheraoed” by a crowd seeking his release. “We would have released Pal in any case as this was not a non-bailable offence. We believe the JCB had been hired expressly for this purpose but we cannot say who hired it. An inquiry is still on,’’ said Monchak.