KOLKATA: As the three-tier panchayat elections in West Bengal were marred by poll-related violence, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit chief Sukanta Majumdar on Saturday wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding the intervention of the Central government.
The Bengal BJP chief, in his letter, said that the state witnessed the unimaginable wrath of the ruling TMC and alleged that the security forces played the role of an audience.
#WATCH | West Bengal panchayat election | Ballot box at a polling booth in Baranachina of Dinhata in Cooch Behar district was set on fire allegedly by voters who were angry with bogus voting that was reportedly going on here. pic.twitter.com/6C5aC00uac
— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2023
“I am compelled to draw your attention to the fact that the democracy in West Bengal has been strangled to death and free and fair elections are beyond imagination. The panchayat election 2023 was held in a single phase on July 8, 2023. The whole state witnessed unimaginable wrath of the ruling party where the security forces played the role of an audience”, the BJP leader said in his letter.
He claimed that 15 political deaths occurred just on the day of the poll. “Though all the districts witnessed terrible violence, the districts where maximum violence occurred are South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, Murshidabad, Paschim Medinipore, Purba Medinipore, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri. Bankura, Hooghly, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, East Bardhaman. Fifteen political deaths occurred just on the day of poll”, he said, adding that booth capturing, rigging and fake voting were seen across all the districts.
“Therefore, I strongly demand the intervention of the Central government so that democracy is restored in West Bengal at the earliest,” the letter added.
#WATCH | West Bengal panchayat election | Spot where a clash erupted between Congress and TMC workers and bombs were hurled.
Visuals from Balutola in Gopalpur Panchayat of Malda. pic.twitter.com/Y9QNGAlB07
— ANI (@ANI) July 8, 2023
Several incidents of election-related violence have been reported from different districts in West Bengal, with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP accusing each other of killing their party workers. Several incidents of ballot box and ballot paper looting as well as destruction were reported from numerous polling booths in the state.
Earlier in the day, state Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari also demanded the Centre’s intervention and asked to implement President’s Rule in the state. “The state is burning and the Centre should intervene with either Article 355 or Article 356 (President’s Rule)”, the BJP MLA from Nandigram had said.
West Bengal has 3,341 gram panchayats and the number of village panchayat election centres is 58,594. There are 63,239 seats at the gram panchayat level, 9730 at panchayat samiti and 928 at the Zilla Parishad level. The counting of votes will be held on July 11. (ANI)