Toongate professor alleges attack by Trinamool-backed assailants

Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Left Front and Congress-backed independent candidate Ambikesh Mahapatra on Saturday alleged that he was attacked by assailants affiliated to West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress after the end of polling for the fifth phase of assembly elections.

“When I was returning from a polling booth after voting got over, around 50 miscreants linked to the Trinamool attacked me. They surrounded my car, abused me, and banged on my car and broke its windscreen. They ordered my driver to stop the car, but the driver intelligently sped past them,” said Jadavpur University professor Mahapatra, whose arrest in 2012 for forwarding a cartoon of chief minister Mamata Banerjee had created a furore across the country and is referred to as ‘Toongate’.

Mahapatra is contesting from the Behala East constituency against city mayor and Trinamool heavywieght Sovon Chatterjee.

He said the Trinamool was angry with him as he had foiled its efforts to prevent four of his agents from sitting in the booths under ward number 143 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

“In the past, opposition agents were not allowed to sit in these booths in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and the KMC polls held a year later. People could not vote, and the ruling party captured the booths. But this time I ensured my agents were there. This has made them angry,” he said.

“There are also 30 booths in the constituency which are disturbed. The opposition is not allowed to carry out any political activity in these booths. But I had campaigned in these areas, and persuaded the Election Commission to ensure people could give their own vote.

“I got partial success. They did not allow our agents to sit in most of the booths, but overall, most of teh people could exercise their democratic right,” he said.

Mahapatra later lodged a police complaint.

–IANS

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