Bengal just had its another Panchayat election but it did not go smoothly as predicted, widespread violence on Monday left many people scared and anguish. At least 12 people died and 43 injured, as 73 percent of the electorate turned up to cast their vote. The election took place on 14th may 2018 and Violence broke out in North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, and Coochbehar and South 24 Parganas districts. Let’s know what all happened in Bengal Panchayat election.
The State Election Commission (SEC) received complaints within two hours of polling in four districts from different parts of the state. The opposition CPI (M) and BJP had accused the TMC of terrorizing voters and hurling bombs outside polling stations, they also accused TMC of “unleashing a reign of terror and destroying democracy”. Pooling booths were mainly targeted during the violence and once again Indian democracy became a joke in the hands of these political parties. One person was killed in clashes between two groups outside a polling booth in Nakashipara area in Nadia district, while another death was reported from Shantipur area, The SEC official said bombs were hurled outside a polling station in Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas in which a man, said to be a CPI (M) supporter, died and another injured. Villagers in West Bengal’s Bhangar area on Saturday said homemade bombs were recovered from the house of Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam. The terror of bombs and deaths are not new in the area.TMC has been on the complete lookout and it clearly shows how they have been negligent in conducting the election and manipulating the democracy to its own wits. Not only this, TMC also put pressure on an independent candidate, Fatema Bibi to withdraw his nomination once it was accepted. The opposition also alleging that a pregnant relative of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate was raped by Trinamool Congress goons who were threatening them to withdraw their nomination for the last few days. A political slugfest between TMC and CPI (M) has erupted over the incident. The BJP has blamed the TMC, alleging the goons of the ruling party had committed the crime to teach a lesson to the opposition candidates for daring to contest in the May 14 polls. Read our the full reports here.
We really need to look into the gravity of this situation, how the political parties have played with mere lives of innocent people just to get their way, this is not just any communal violence but a joke to the sanctity of Indian democracy. People are not just dying but women are also being raped which make us question the ruling party’s stand which is corrupt and setting a bad example for the constitution. The state of India which a few months back talked about conducting one nation, one poll in every part of the country could not even conduct a small scale panchayat election in Bengal which shows that we are still behind our goals and elections have become a joke. TMC panchayat members have been also involved in private contractor business, illegal toll booths, and sand mining. But according to TMC, these allegations are “baseless”.
Due to this heavy violence re-polling was conducted in 558 booths across West Bengal from where the State Election Commission received complaints amid tight security. Several non-political organizations held sit-ins outside the state election commission office in protest against the violence on the polling day. This shows inefficiency and lack of resources on the part of ruling party TMC and SEC in conducting a smooth election and it seems like that SEC is acting as a stooge of TMC. Mamata Banerjee has made a mockery of the system.
The opposition also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress party activists of preventing BJP candidates from filing nominations. They told SC that “democracy is being murdered “in the state and sought the top court’s intervention. Communists and socialists have resorted to political violence since the 1950s. Political violence used to be rampant, now only W Bengal and Kerala are the States where it is still rampant. But in the name of political violence political parties’ cannot play with the lives of their voters, this will not only make people lose faith in democracy but also question the politics of the election. This is not a new story in Bengal, with all those ‘newborn’ experts on Bengal Panchayat Elections in State have a history of electorate violence. 400 killed in poll violence in the 1990s in CPIM rule. 2003: 40 dead. Every death is a tragedy.
There is just only one year left for the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), BJP, CPI (M) and Congress are seeking a popular mandate in the rural areas of the West Bengal. Ms. Banerjee is known for her political compulsions. She has to protect her turf against the saffron onslaught. She needs to focus her energies on pulling together an anti-BJP front before the 2019 elections. She knows that in order to compensate for anti-incumbency in other states, the BJP will focus its resources and energy in Bengal that offers 42 Lok Sabha seats. But her response may drown Bengal in a communal cauldron. Ms. Banerjee seems to have plunged into a dangerous round of competitive communalism that explains why these local elections have been so violent and keenly fought. If the Ram Navami clashes in Raniganj and Asansol towns are any indication, competitive communalism may not be a constructive way forward for a party that claims that its main focus is the development.
Read out our detailed report on How Mamta Banerjee Government Has Fared In West Bengal?