Violence reported from Bardhaman, Bankura, South 24 Parganas and Howrah

The filing of nomination papers for rural polls in the nine districts of West Bengal that go to polls in the first phase on July 2 started on Wednesday amid complaints from the Left Front and the Congress that their candidates were prevented from collecting and filing their nomination papers by Trinamool Congress activists.

There were reports of violence from districts such as Bardhaman, Bankura, South 24 Parganas and Howrah, where prospective candidates were reportedly intimidated and, at certain places, attacked.

“We had repeatedly urged the State Election Commission to ensure necessary security for a free and fair election. With the election panel not having made enough security arrangements so far and a section of administration being partisan to the ruling party, the entire democratic process of election is in jeopardy,” a statement issued by State Left Front Committee chairperson Biman Bose said.

Meanwhile, a State Congress delegation met Governor M.K. Narayanan and alleged that Trinamool was not allowing their party candidates file nomination papers. “Despite the presence of State police, the Trinamool Congress is trying to create trouble at various places,” State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said.

Alleging that security forces were virtually absent in various parts of the districts going to polls, Communist Party of India (Marxist) State Secretariat member Rabin Deb said the administration had not provided any security to Left Front candidates. Trinamool, he said, was scared of its shrinking support base and had realised that its victory was not possible unless it resorted to attacking Left Front candidates.

The State Election Commission has sought a report from the district administrations of Bardhaman and Bankuraon the incidents of attacks on the Opposition’s candidates.

The authorities in all the nine districts have been asked to accept written complaints from those who allege coercion and send them to the election panel.