The panchayat elections in West Bengal, which have been marred by violence claiming more than 20 lives, conclude with polling in the fifth phase in four districts of north Bengal on Thursday.
Around 64 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 7,961 polling booths in the four districts of Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri where in all 28,591 candidates are contesting for 7,342 seats in the rural bodies.
The State Election Commission has deployed 53 companies of Central armed police forces for holding polls, along with personnel from the State police force.
A senior official of the poll panel said here on Wednesday that the Commission has written to the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police of the Birbhum district seeking their response on what steps they have taken against Trinamool Congress district president Anubrata Mondal and MLA Monirul Islam.
While Mr. Mondal had extorted party workers to attack and burn houses of Independents and hurl bombs at the police, Mr. Islam had threatened beheading a Congress leader publicly.
An FIR has been made at the Panrui police station against Mr. Mondal for making inflammatory speeches.
Hridoy Ghosh, an Independent candidate from the area, held Mr. Mondal and his associates for the murder of his septuagenarian father who was shot at during the elections in Birbhum on Monday and succumbed to his injuries the next day,
Mr. Ghosh wrote to the district administration, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Governor M.K. Narayanan and the West Bengal Human Rights Commission pointing out that Independent candidates in the region, particularly those who belong to the Trinamool Congress but were denied tickets, were feeling insecure following Mr. Mondal’s remarks. Stating that he has been associated with the Trinamool Congress since its inception, Mr. Ghosh said it was sad that his father was victimised in the violence instigated by a senior leader of the same party.
Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress leadership continued its attack on the poll panel for the manner in which it has been conducting itself regarding the polls.
“Is Mondal Mahatma Gandhi that his remarks should be given so much credence?” asked senior Trinamool Congress leader and State’s Transport Minister Madan Mitra.
Mr. Mondal had already apologised and there was no point of dragging the issue, he said and accused the poll panel for “misusing” the Central forces.
“It (the Commission) has failed to conduct the rural elections properly... Either the State Election Commissioner should resign or be removed,” Mr. Mitra said.
Around 64 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 7,961 polling booths in 4 districts State Election Commission has deployed 53 companies of Central armed police forces
Around 64 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 7,961 polling booths in 4 districts
State Election Commission has deployed 53 companies of Central armed police forces