Many injured in clashes between TMC and BJP cadres over rural polls in WB

Many injured in clashes between TMC and BJP cadres over rural polls in WB

Clashes between workers of the ruling TMC and the BJP over filing of nominations for the panchayat polls in West Bengal have left many people injured.

Poll-related violence has claimed two lives in Malda and Bankura districts so far since the beginning of the filing of nominations on April 2.

Clashes between TMC and BJP activists were reported from the Nabagram area in Murshidabad district, and Bankura and Nalhati in Birbhum district, police said.

In the Nalhati area in Birbhum district, clashes broke out between the police and BJP supporters when they defied orders against holding rallies or processions while filing nominations. The directives were issued after an attack on former CPI(M) MP Ramchandra Dome allegedly by TMC hoodlums on Thursday.

The BJP workers took out a rally and were stopped by the police. A heated argument erupted between the two sides and snowballed into a clash. The men in uniform used batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse the rallyists, a police official said.

In Bankura, BJP state secretary Shyamapada Mondal was attacked allegedly by TMC supporters when he and his party cadres were on their way to meet the district magistrate in the afternoon to submit a memorandum on the violence during filing of nominations for the panchayat polls.

He alleged that about 300 "TMC goons", who were present there in violation of Section 144 of the CrPC clamped in the area, attacked the BJP delegation.

The TMC leadership in the district termed the allegations baseless.

Video footage aired on TV news channels showed crude bombs being hurled at Nabagram in Murshidabad district and activists of the TMC and the BJP clashing with each other over filing of nominations.

TMC secretary general and state minister Partha Chatterjee accused the BJP of trying to foment trouble in the state by bringing in outsiders.

"The BJP will never be allowed to disturb peace in the state. First, it was communal violence on Ram Navami and now they are using muscle power to stop our candidates from filing nominations," Chatterjee alleged.

He said that allegations of opposition candidates being attacked are an excuse as the rival parties do not have candidates to file nominations.

The BJP, on the other hand, accused the TMC of not allowing its workers to file nominations for the panchayat elections and said it was trying to turn the rural polls into a farce by use of money and muscle power.

"Democracy has ceased to exist in Bengal. But the BJP will not give up so easily. Our workers are being brutally beaten up in Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum and police are acting like cadres of the TMC," BJP leader Mukul Roy alleged.

West Bengal PCC president Adhir Chowdhury has moved the Calcutta High Court, which today directed the police to make adequate security arrangements to ensure that candidates can freely file nominations for the panchayat elections due in May.

A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya ordered the superintendent of police of every district to ensure proper security arrangements for filing of nomination papers.

The Supreme Court during the day said it will pass orders on April 9 on the BJP's plea alleging that its candidates are not being allowed to file their nomination papers for the rural polls.

In its plea, the BJP has sought an extension of the last date of nomination, which is April 9.  

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