Violence mars Assembly election
New Delhi: With the TMC-led West Bengal witnessing violent scenes and political clashes in the run-up to the panchayat polls, the BJP on Friday lashed out at chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her government for being insensitive.
Condemning the state government and the police, the BJP said that the way they are acting is a "dark chapter in the history of democracy and elections in India". Rubbishing the BJP's allegations, Ms Banrjee claimed that the panchayat poll nomination process in her state was "peaceful" and slammed the Opposition parties for trying to make an issue out of "one or two stray" incidents.
Panchayat polls in West Bengal are scheduled for July 8 and the counting of votes is on July 11. At least three people were shot dead and several others injured in poll-related violence in the state on the last day of nomination filing on Thursday.
Taking cognisance, the Calcutta high court directed that prospective candidates who were allegedly prevented from filing nominations at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas district be allowed to file their papers for the panchayat elections in West Bengal by 4 pm on Friday.
The court thus extended the nomination process for these candidates by a day after it ended on Thursday.
Slamming the Mamata government over the poll-related violence, the BJP asserted that in the "land of Rabindra Sangeet, bomb blasts can be heard now."
The BJP also blamed the State Election Commission (SEC) for not taking note of the irregularities and remaining unresponsive to the incidents of violence, which indicate how the TMC government has taken "the system" into its own hands.
"The kind of violent scenes that are being seen in the panchayat elections of West Bengal are extremely painful. There is violence all around… Even more disappointing is the insensitivity of the TMC government towards the incidents of violence that took place on the last day of filing of nominations on Thursday," said BJP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi.
The BJP claimed that several of its workers faced fatal attacks on the last day of filing nominations, but both the state government and the SEC remained inactive towards these incidents.
"The way the West Bengal government and the state police are behaving, this is going to be remembered as a very dark chapter in the democratic and electoral history of the country," he charged.
The BJP leaders termed the prevailing situation in West Bengal "unfortunate".
"We have a list of 25–30 incidents in which our party workers were injured in fatal attacks... I want to say this to the TMC government and Mamata ji that this game of violence that you are playing, the communist government used to do the same... Look at their condition today," the BJP leader added.
Raising questions on the nomination process, the BJP claimed that of the 341 blocks in the state, on Friday, within 4 hours, more than 40,000 TMC candidates filed nominations, that too in 340 blocks, meaning the average timing of the filing of a nomination per person was two minutes.
"The filing of nominations at such a pace shows how the government has taken the system into its own hands," the BJP leader charged, asking, "Is it not a mockery of democracy?"