So far about 400 incidents of political clashes reported
With the murder of two Communist Party of India Marxist) workers at Rejinagar in Murshidabad district, the number of those killed in political violence in the run-up to the rural polls in the State has reached 11.
This is the toll since the commencement of nomination on June 5 and activists of all the major political parties are getting sucked into the vortex of violence.
A group of CPI (M) supporters, including a candidate, was attacked on Friday night. The bodies of two workers were recovered on Saturday morning while those injured were admitted to a local hospital.
Nine people, including four associated with the CPI(M), two each from the Congress and the Trinamool Congress and one from the BJP were killed during the process of filing of nomination papers between June 5 and June 17, in the three-phase rural polls.
So far about 400 incidents of political clashes, which includes over 100 between factions within the Trinamool Congress took place.
State govt. blamed
Opposition parties blamed the State government and its unwillingness to deploy central forces for holding the rural polls as the main reason behind such incidents. Allegations were levelled against the State Election Commission for failing to provide adequate security ahead of the polls.
Despite an order issued by the Calcutta High Court on May 14 to ensure security, the government has failed to mobilise adequate security forces.
While the Commission had sought for the deployment of 31,000 security personnel during the nomination stage, the government could provide only 3,800.
The government however, is not willing to admit that the situation is serious and could result in further loss of lives unless adequate security is provided for the polls. The polls are scheduled in three phases on July 2, 6 and 9 in 17 districts.
“About 1.7 lakh nomination papers have been filed for rural polls and only three persons out of which two are from our party have been killed,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed at an election rally in Bankura.
“Where is the violence and coercion which the CPI(M) is alleging in rural West Bengal,” she quizzed, adding that allegations made by the Opposition were false. About 100 people were killed in the panchayat elections in 2003 and 2008, she added.