With arson, looting of ballot boxes, and the murder of three people, the violence in West Bengal Panchayat Polls was highly condemned.
Nisith Pramanik, Minister of State for Home Affairs of India said, “I strongly condemn the political murder of our polling agent in Cooch Behar. Words fall short to express the tyranny & reign of terror that TMC has unleashed in West Bengal. Dissenting voices are not just stifled but made silent forever.”
The Trinamool Congress alleged that three of its party workers were murdered and two were injured from gunshots in Domkol during the polling.
The party questioned the whereabouts of the central forces deployed for the election and accused them of failing to ensure the safety and security of the people.
The party claimed that incidents of violence occurred in various places, including firing at an AITC candidate’s husband in Narayanpur-1 Gram Panchayat in Nadia and crude bomb attacks on AITC workers in Hasina Sultana’s husband’s case.
The Trinamool Congress accused the BJP, CPI(M), and Congress of working together to harass party workers and spread violence.
The party alleged that despite the deployment of central forces, their party workers were attacked, wounded, and killed, citing examples such as a bomb attack in Manikchak, Malda, and assaults on their workers in various locations.
The party criticized the competence and preparedness of the central forces, as well as the claims made by the BJP, CPI(M), and Congress regarding their role in ensuring peaceful elections.
They highlighted incidents like the assault and death threats against their Panchayat candidate, Shyamali Sabar, and criticized the central forces for failing to protect her from such attacks.
The Calcutta High Court, in response to concerns about post-poll violence, ordered the central paramilitary forces to remain on alert for ten days after the declaration of results.
The High Court based its decision on past instances of post-poll violence after the state’s panchayat and assembly elections in 2018 and 2021, respectively.
The court expressed concerns about the potential impact of such violence on the public and called for the deployment of central forces to prevent any untoward incidents.
Both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Opposition parties have accused each other of booth-capturing and violence.
WB Youth Congress said, “TMC is creating chaos all over Bengal. TMC men attacking the Opposition.”
— WB Youth Congress (@IYCWestBengal) July 8, 2023
With India hailed as the biggest democracy, the violence was heavily criticized.
In the biggest Democracy of the world…
The polling is conducted via ballot paper and not with EVM. The polling officials have fled and voting stopped.
No arms or… pic.twitter.com/gzkaDyTgXr
— MANOGYA LOIWAL मनोज्ञा लोईवाल (@manogyaloiwal) July 8, 2023
Polling for the three-tier single-phase Panchayat election began at 7 AM on Saturday amidst palpable tension resulting from pre-poll violence.
- The three tiers of Panchayat elections taking place are Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis, and Zilla Parishads.
- Approximately 56.7 million voters are expected to exercise their franchise in 61,636 polling booths across the state.
- The election aims to elect candidates for 63,229 Gram Panchayat seats, 9,730 Panchayat Samiti seats, and 928 Zilla Parishad seats.
- To ensure a free, fair, and peaceful poll, 822 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed.
- The State Election Commission has identified 4,834 polling booths, accounting for 7.8% of the total, as “sensitive.”
— Sreyashi Dey (@SreyashiDey) July 8, 2023
People running away with ballot boxes:
— Manisha Rani FC 🍁 (@mysamiul) July 8, 2023