Bengal rural Poll: Violence continues on second day of nomination filing

Civic volunteers were seen with lathis along with the police to control disturbances in Domkal

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Press Trust of India Kolkata

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Violence and chaos continued to mar the second day of nomination filing for West Bengal panchayat polls on Saturday, with opposition BJP, Congress and CPI(M) alleging their candidates were prevented from submitting papers by the ruling TMC activists and goons.
Reports of violence and scuffles between workers of the ruling and opposition parties came from a number of districts such as Bankura, Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, Birbhum and Murshidabad districts.
A Congress activist was shot dead on Friday, the first day of nomination filing, in Murshidabad district allegedly by TMC goons, a charge denied by the ruling party.
A State Election Commission official told PTI: "We have sought reports about all the incidents and will pass on necessary instructions to the police.
Opposition BJP demanded immediate deployment of central forces to conduct the panchayat polls while the TMC asserted that the opposition is hunting for excuses fearing defeat.
At Domkol in Murshidabad, opposition parties alleged that goons belonging to the TMC were seen moving around with firearms near the BDO office, where nomination papers will be filed, and obstructing their candidates.

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Civic volunteers were seen with lathis along with the police to control disturbances in Domkal.
Besides, BJP nominees were allegedly heckled by TMC workers at Labhpur in Birbhum district.
Similar reports of violence came from Bishnupur in Bankura, Katwa in Purba Bardhaman, and Babarani in Paschim Bardhaman districts, where CPIM candidates were allegedly prevented from filing their nomination papers by the TMC.
BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya told PTI: We have been asking for deployment of central forces from the very beginning, but the partisan State Election Commission is yet to hear our pleas.
"Civic volunteers wearing police uniform are now deployed to oversee the nomination filing process and ruling party miscreants are getting a free run. This is in blatant violation of the law. The TMC does not want the opposition to field candidates anywhere," he said.
TMC Rajya Sabha member and party spokesperson Shantanu Sen said the opposition had faced severe drubbing in the 2021 assembly polls and several assembly and one Lok Sabha by-elections, all of which were conducted in the presence of central forces.
People of Bengal are solidly behind the TMC and not with the BJP, Congress or the CPI(M). The opposition may demand deployment of peacekeeping force from the United Nations in panchayat polls if they want," Sen said.
State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha on Saturday called on West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose to explain the commission's stand on demands for extending the date of filing nominations for the state's three-tier panchayat polls and to explain steps taken to contain incidents of violence.
The 2018 rural poll process was marred by violence and alleged malpractices in several districts.

First Published: Jun 10 2023 | 6:30 PM IST

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