Political parties condemn panchayat poll related deaths in Bengal
The ruling TMC, which lost five of its supporters to poll violence, questioned the absence of central forces that have been brought in for the elections
Cutting across ideological lines, all parties in West Bengal on Saturday condemned the killing of nine people in various parts of the state as voting for the panchayat elections is underway.
The opposition BJP and CPI(M) alleged that the State Election Commission (SEC) did not deploy the central forces as per the orders of the Calcutta High Court.
The ruling TMC, which lost five of its supporters to poll violence, questioned the absence of central forces that have been brought in for the elections.
"Shocking incidents are being reported since last night. BJP, CPI(M) and Congress had colluded, demanding central forces. Where are they deployed? TMC workers are being murdered. Where are the central forces?" state minister Sashi Panja asked.
"There is rampant usage of arms and the ruling Trinamool Congress is behind all these incidents. They had planned it well in advance to create disturbances on the polling day and loot votes. But I am happy to see that in some places, people have put up resistance,” senior CPI(M) leader Dr Sujan Chakraborty claimed.
“I am quite surprised to see that the deployment of the central forces was not done as per the Calcutta High Court order. There seems to be some kind of understanding... It is a complete violation of the Court order," Chakraborty told PTI.
When contacted, BJP leader Rahul Sinha claimed that the SEC is working as per the direction of the state’s Trinamool Congress government and it has failed to discharge its duties totally.
"This is evident from the way they are conducting the polling today. At several booths, there are no central forces, while the state police are also absent in a few. I have got photographs as well as videos where CCTVs were not connected to wires even. This actually helped the miscreants carry out violence,” he said.
Sinha said one can imagine the situation when six people were killed during a panchayat election Since polling started at 7 am, West Bengal witnessed the deaths of six people in clashes while three others lost their lives in poll-related violence in the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.
Congress leader Kaustav Bagchi said he made a representation to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court seeking an urgent hearing of a prayer seeking that Saturday's panchayat elections in West Bengal be declared null and void on account of violence and killings.