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TMC accuses Opposition of orchestrating violence; confident of panchayat poll win

West Bengal's rural polls drew towards a bloody finish as 12 people died, bombs exploded, and all parties levelled allegations of strong-arm tactics against their rivals.
Last Updated : 09 July 2023, 02:35 IST
Last Updated : 09 July 2023, 02:35 IST

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The ruling TMC on Saturday accused the Opposition of orchestrating violence during the panchayat polls in West Bengal, while asserting that the party will emerge victorious in a majority of the seats when the votes are counted on July 11.

Dismissing allegations of the state administration letting loose a reign of terror, state minister Bratya Basu claimed that it is the Trinamool Congress which has been at the "receiving end of the violence perpetuated by the opposition".

"Of the 22 districts that went to rural polls, no incident of violence was reported in 16. Of the nearly 61,000 booths, incidents were reported in only 60. So, one can ascertain the ratio of violence in comparison with the areas where polls were held peacefully. It is lesser than one per cent," another minister, Shashi Panja, said.

She fished out data to push her party's claims that out of the total deaths that took place both on the day of polling and throughout the entire election process, "nearly 60 per cent casualties were from the TMC".

West Bengal's rural polls drew towards a bloody finish as 12 people died, bombs exploded, and all parties levelled allegations of strong-arm tactics against their rivals on Saturday.

Twelve people, including eight from the ruling TMC and one worker each of the BJP, CPI(M), Congress and ISF, died since midnight in the crucial three-tier panchayat polls, officials said.

"A narrative is being spun by the opposition parties with the help of the Governor (C V Ananda Bose) and a section of the media that elections in West Bengal are always violent. There have been few instances of violence, but if you compare with previous elections, you will see that the incidents of violence and deaths have gone down drastically," TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh claimed.

Since the day the polls were announced on June 8, violence was reported in various parts of the state, leading to the death of nearly 30 people, including a dozen on the day of polling.

The 2003 panchayat polls gained notoriety for its death toll of 76, with more than 40 killed on the day of the elections.

The 2013 rural polls, held under the supervision of central forces, and the 2018 elections recorded fatality figures of 39 and 30, respectively.

"We condemn all incidents of violence. But the fact is that elections have been more or less peaceful in a majority of the areas, which the media and the opposition are not talking about," he said.

He also alleged that the BSF has tried to influence the voters in border areas, an allegation which was levelled by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee last month.

The BSF had then issued a strong statement rubbishing the claims as "baseless".

Reacting to the BJP's demand to implement President's Rule in the state, Ghosh said the comments are a reflection of frustration that has set in the saffron camp.

"We have heard (Leader of Opposition) Suvendu Adhikari has demanded President's Rule or implementation of Article 355 in the state. It only reflects that BJP has already accepted defeat and reflects frustration in the saffron camp," he added.

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Published 08 July 2023, 14:00 IST

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