West Bengal Governor visits Bhangar, calls for joint efforts to end violence

Rejecting reports of violence, Mamata says Opposition parties have filed over one lakh nomination papers

June 16, 2023 01:10 pm | Updated 09:42 pm IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose Friday visited Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district, which witnessed sporadic violence between supporters of rival political groups | file photo

West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose Friday visited Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district, which witnessed sporadic violence between supporters of rival political groups | file photo | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri

West Bengal Governor C. V. Ananda Bose visited the violence-hit Bhangar in the South 24 Parganas district on Friday and called for joint efforts to end the violence that broke out in the State in the run-up to the panchayat elections.

“This election should be a resolve by the silent majority of the State and lovers of democracy to ensure that peaceful election is the norm rather than the exception in West Bengal,” the Governor said.

Bhangar has been on the boil over since June 9, when the filing of nomination papers for the panchayat polls began. On Thursday, a supporter of the Trinamool Congress and an activist of the Indian Secular Front were killed in violence in the area. Another body was recovered in the evening.

Mr. Bose spoke to local residents of Bhangar, including Indian Secular Front ( ISF) candidates, who have not been able to file their nomination papers in the panchayat polls. “As a Governor, I will take the initiative to see that all the stakeholders are brought together and a joint effort is made to end this situation of violence,” he said.

The Governor said his visit was a “fact-finding, data gathering exercise” and he had made his own “inferences” on what happened. 

On Thursday evening, the Governor issued a statement on the violence and added that “under no circumstances, will mobocracy be permitted to throttle democracy”.

During the day, the Calcutta High Court directed that about 80 BJP candidates who could not file nominations at Basirhat in North 24 Parganas should be allowed to do so.

Mamata’s counter

Refuting reports of violence, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said only a few areas saw disturbance. “About 2.31 lakh nomination papers have been filed for the panchayat polls, which include 82,000 nominations from the Trinamool. The remaining 1.5 lakh have been filed by the Opposition. “In no other State were so many nominations filed,” she said.

Elections to about 63,239 seats at the gram panchayat level, 9,730 seats in panchayat samitis and 928 zilla parishad seats are scheduled for July 8. The filing of nomination papers started on June 9 and concluded on June 15.

The Chief Minister, who was addressing a rally at Kakdwip, also came down on the deployment of Central forces and told her party supporters to put women in the front. Ms. Banerjee reminded that Central forces were deployed in the last Assembly election as well as in the Lok Sabha election and the Trinamool had done well then. On June 15, the Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal State Election Commission to deploy Central forces in all districts.

The third victim of the June 15 violence in Bhangar is yet to be identified. ISF leader and Bhangar MLA Naushad Siddique visited the residence of Moinuddin Mollah, the ISF supporter, who was killed in the violence. Mr. Siddique said the Trinamool leadership should make public the details of its supporter who died. He alleged that the supporter was not a resident of Bhangar and had come from adjoining areas to foment trouble.

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