Tripura Congress president Pradyot Dev Burman courted controversy on Thursday after he was seen in a CCTV footage slapping a supporter of the IPFT, an ally of the ruling BJP, inside a police station.
Police arrested the IPFT supporter earlier in the day on the charge of trying to attack the convoy of Congress’ Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Dev Burman in Khowai district of Tripura on Thursday. Pragya is the sister of the state Congress president.
The accused supporter of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) allegedly tried to throw brickbats at the convoy of the candidate but he was captured by the security guards escorting her car, Deputy Inspector General of Police Arindam Nath said.
The incident took place while Pragya was on her way back from a rally at Tulashikhar, a tribal hamlet in Khowai district.
Pragya Dev Burman is the Congress candidate for East Tripura (ST) constituency which will go to polls on April 23.
“We were returning after attending a public meeting at Tulashikhar area. An IPFT supporter tried to hurl a stone at my car. It seems there were more people with him,” Pragya told reporters.
Senior BJP leader and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath showed the CCTV footage of Tulashikhar police station where the accused was taken and Pradyot Dev Burman slapped him.
It showed that the state Congress president took law into his hands and wanted to send the message that he would terrorise and attack his political opponents, Nath claimed.
“If he can manhandle a person inside a police station, he can also murder anyone anywhere,” the law minister said. Pradyot Dev Burman, however, remained unapologetic.
“He is a goon. He and many others were trying to attack my sister. Why is the BJP trying to protect a goon? Let the BJP go and file an FIR against me. Let them put me in jail. I will not even seek a bail,” he said.
The state Congress chief earlier said, “Very sad to see that my sister Pragya was attacked by paid goons in Tulashikhar. One person was arrested. I have no words to condemn it.”
IPFT spokesperson Mangal Debbarma claimed that the arrested supporter was there by co-incidence and neither he nor the party was involved in the attack.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya denounced the incident saying “any attempt of attack is condemnable”.
The BJP-IPFT combine ousted the CPI(M)-led Left Front from power after 25 years in early 2018.The Election Commission had on Tuesday announced postponement of polling in the East Tripura seat to the third phase on April 23 from April 18, saying the prevailing law and order situation there is not conducive for holding free and fair polls.
Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats. Elections for the first phase were held in West Tripura seat on April 11, and the Congress and CPI (M) demanded re-poll in 460 polling stations on the ground of alleged rigging by the ruling BJP.
(With PTI Inputs)