A video from Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to Nandigram on Wednesday, offers some clarity on what happened moments before she sustained injuries on her foot. The injury has become a matter of huge political debate as the BJP and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress blame each other. The ruling party has accused the BJP of engineering the incident. The BJP has brushed off the allegations, accusing the Chief Minister of staging a “drama” for sympathy votes in a losing battle.
The video shows Ms Banerjee standing on the footboard of her SUV as it moved slowly forward — common practice of political leaders. The front passenger door, where she is standing, is ajar. Ms Banerjee has an arm around the window frame in a ‘namaskar’. Suddenly as the crowd presses forward, she falls back and the door slams on her.
Ms Banerjee, whose foot was badly injured, had to rush back. Before starting for Kolkata, she had told reporters that four-or five unknown people pushed the door against her car and the door shut on her.
Asked if it was a planned attack, she said, “Of course it is a conspiracy…it was intentional. There were no local policemen around me”.
This morning, speaking from her hospital bed, she did not refer to any attack or conspiracy. “It is true that I was very badly hurt yesterday and that I have a foot injury, a bone injury and in the ligament and I had pain in my head and chest as a result of the injury,” she said.
“I was greeting people from the car bonnet and a huge pressure came….and the car crushed my foot,” said the 66-year-old who is undergoing a battery of tests at the hospital.
The Trinamool Congress has accused the BJP and the Election Commission of having a role in the matter. The party said an attempt was made on the Chief Minister’s life “within 24 hours of the removal of the Bengal police chief” by the Election Commission without the state government being consulted.
The Commission responded today, saying in a strong letter that the Trinamool memo questioned the “very basis of formation and functioning of the Election Commission”. The poll panel said it was “completely incorrect” to suggest that it had taken over the law and order machinery in the state in the name of conducting elections.
“It looks undignified to even respond to the allegations of all this being done at the behest of a particular political party,” its letter read.
The Commission and the government have ordered separate investigations into the incident. The Commission has asked for a report by Friday.