The injury to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee a few hours after submitting her nomination for the Nandigram seat and subsequent return to Kolkata has heated up the political atmosphere, with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) alleging a conspiracy and her opponents calling it a drama.
Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, the TMC's Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson, said, "After the widespread response from the people of Nandigram Block-1 on Tuesday, she visited several places of Nandigram Block II after filing nomination at Haldia. She offered Puja in one after another temple. There was a massive response from people everywhere. At about 6.15 pm, when she was about to leave Birulia Anchal after performing Puja in a temple, a few unknown persons pushed her to the car and forcibly shut down the door, as a result of which she sustained injuries in her left leg and also suffered severe pain in the waist."
She returned to Kolkata and was admitted to the state-run SSKM hospital, where a large number of TMC supporters had already gathered. The party alleged that there were no policemen around her when she was pushed. TMC spokesman Debangshu Bhattacharya pointed out that this security lapse happened just a day after the Election Commission replaced the state's director general of police.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, whose acrimonious relations with the chief minister has been widely written and talked about over the past three years, faced "go back" slogans from the gathering of TMC supporters when he came to the hospital to meet the chief minister.
There were allegations that one or two shoes had been thrown at Dhankhar's car.
A statement by the party posted from its Twitter handle said, "@MamataOfficial attacked in Nandigram on the day she filed her nomination. 4-5 people pushed her on purpose & grievously injured her leg. It's a conspiracy for the rousing response she got from the people of Bengal earlier today."
Without referring to Mamata Banerjee or Nandigram, CPI(M) politburo member Md Salim wrote on Twitter, "Staged Drama. So obvious."
The Congress' Lok sabha leader and state unit president Adhir Chowdhury called it "nothing but a gimmick to gain in sympathy." The Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, the Congress' Adbul Mannan, alleged that Mamata Banerjee was "acting."
BJP leaders responded in various ways. Lok Sabha MP Arjun Singh called it a drama. The party's Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya said no one in the state could dare to launch a physical attack on her. Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta gave a more careful response.
"We pray for @MamataOfficial speedy recovery from her foot injury. If she requires additional Central security, the Home Ministry will certainly provide it," Dasgupta wrote on Twitter.