Free Press Journal

West Bengal civic polls turn violent, Opposition demands fresh elections


Kolkata : Major opposition parties in West Bengal have demanded cancellation of elections to the seven municipal bodies held on Sunday, alleging widespread violence and booth-capturing by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers. This comes as a repeat in the Trinamool Congress run state where violence ridden civic polls were witnessed in May.

The TMC, however, denied any role in the violence during the election and blamed the BJP and CPI(M) for it. The state election commission declined to make any comment. Reports from Durgapur said, clashes took place between various groups were since early morning and several vehicles were set on fire. Large police contingents were rushed to the spot to control the situation. The Congress demanded removal of state election commissioner A K Singh and held a sit in demonstration outside State Election Commission office.

“The SEC has completely failed to conduct the polls in free and fair manner. This is not the first time. In municipal elections held in May we had witnessed the same thing. The TMC has turned the elections into a farce,” Leader of opposition and state Congress leader Abdul Manan said. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, however demanded cancellation of elections in Haldia, Pashkura and Durgapur Municipal Corporation (DMC). “We demand that fresh elections should be held after deployment of Central forces. We don’t demand the SEC’s removal as it will not solve the matter as he is under the state government,” Ghosh said.

Denying any role in the poll violence, senior TMC leader Aroop Biswas said: “Those who don’t believe in democracy are resorting to violence. BJP is resorting to violence and is being aided by CPI(M) in it.” The Congress resorted to a road blockade and sit-in front of the state election commission office here claiming that it had failed to conduct free and fair polls. “We want the elections to be cancelled as TMC has unleashed terror at all the places where elections are being held,” CPI(M) Politburo member Mohammed Salim said. Claiming that the elections have turned into a “farce”, he said, “Miscreants owing allegiance to the TMC have been terrorising everyone with guns, bombs and other weapons. Voters, candidates, election agents — no one has been spared.” Polling for the seven urban local bodies (ULBs) comprising five municipalities, one notified authority and one municipal corporation was held during the day and the results will be declared on August 17.

The municipalities which went to polls on Sunday included Panskura and Haldia in East Midnapore district, Nalhati in Birbhum, Buniadpur in South Dinajpur and Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri districts. Durgapur Municipal Corporation in Burdwan West and Cooper’s Camp Notified Authority in Nadia district are the two other ULBs that went to polls today. By-polls were held in ward number 12 under Champdani municipality and ward number 7 of Jhargram municipality.  -PTI

The Opposition has alleged that miscreants owing allegiance to the TMC  terrorised everyone with guns, bombs and other means. Voters, candidates, election agents were not spared