In the crucial three-tier panchayat polls currently underway in West Bengal, sporadic violence has been reported from various parts of the state, like North 24 Parganas, Nadia and Paschim Medinipur districts. While a BJP polling agent was allegedly thrashed at Goaltore in Paschim Medinipur, brother of an independent candidate was shot at in Nadia. Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appealed for peace.
Reports have also come in that CPM workers were allegedly torched by TMC goons in Kakdwip block of South 24 Parbana district. A crude bomb was also set off in Cooch Behar’s Dinhata where a TMC worker has reportedly lost a hand. A media van was also reportedly torched and a camera broken in Bhangar, West Bengal.
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Meanwhile, tension continues to prevail in Asansol following the bombing which took place in Raniganj before polling started. Raniganj is also where heavy violence took place after the attack on Ram Navami procession in March this year.
The panchayat polls in West Bengal have been in news for all the wrong reasons. After the TMC leader Arabul Islam was arrested in connection with the killing of a supporter of an independent candidate, it was reported that handmade bombs were recovered from his house. There have been instances of him being involved in violence and news of his arrests and expulsion have been reported several times in the past.
When it comes to politics in West Bengal, violence has often been the currency of choice for the political parties. They have resorted to brute force and coercion for attaining individual benefits. The party workers have often been caught on the wrong foot, breaking laws fearless of the repercussions. The upcoming Panchayat polls have turned West Bengal into a battlefield, with the Calcutta High Court suspending all the poll processes of West Bengal’s upcoming Panchayat elections. The order came in the backdrop of serious violence across the state with regards to the Panchayat polls. Besides violence, the TMC establishment has been accused of openly intimidating people by carrying out armed rallies.
Besides that, ahead of the West Bengal panchayat elections, voters are claiming that they are deprived of the Centre’s prominent schemes such as Ujjwala Yojana (gas connection) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (house) to name a few.
The panchayat polls are crucial for TMC as they are being seen as a warm up to the 2019 elections where Mamata is eyeing the top post. 40 of the West Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats are located in the districts that going to the polls today.