West Bengal Congress leader Koustav Bagchi arrested for comments about Mamata Banerjee

The Kolkata Police on Saturday morning arrested Congress leader Kaustav Bagchi after he warned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against making personal remarks on state party president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, PTI reported.

The chief minister had referred to the death of Chowdhury’s daughter after the Congress’ victory in the Sagardighi bye-polls in Murshidabad district, according to The Indian Express.

Congress leader Byron Biswas, backed by the Left Front, on Thursday won from the seat that had been the stronghold of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

On Friday, Bagchi, at a press conference, warned that the Congress would circulate copies of former Indian Administrative Service officer Dipak Ghosh’s book criticising the ruling Trinamool Congress if Banerjee makes personal attacks. Ghosh was also a former Trinamool Congress MLA and a trusted aide of Banerjee.

A complaint was lodged against Bagchi at Burtolla police station after the press conference. He was booked under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation).

On Saturday, a team of Kolkata police personnel conducted a raid at Bagchi’s home at Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas district at around 3.30 am and arrested him, a senior officer told PTI.

“We cannot talk much about it [the arrest],” the officer said. “Our officers are talking to Kaustav Bagchi.”

The Congress party criticised the Trinamool government, saying that Bagchi’s arrest proves that Banerjee is afraid of the Opposition.

“She [Mamata Banerjee] is acting like a dictator,” Chowdhury said, according to The Indian Express. “We will go to any extent to free Bagchi.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty accused Banerjee of being an autocrat. “Is this democracy?” he said. “We have no language to condemn this attack.”

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