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9 killed in Panchayat polling-related violence in Bengal, Governor expresses concern

Among those killed were five Trinamool supporters, one each of BJP, CPI(M) and Congress, and the supporter of an Independent candidate, official sources said.

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Kolkata: At least nine people were killed in violent incidents in different parts of the state during West Bengal’s three-tier Panchayat polling on Saturday.

Among those killed were five Trinamool supporters, one each of BJP, CPI(M) and Congress, and the supporter of an Independent candidate, official sources said.

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West Bengal Governor C V Ananda Bose expressed grave concern at the prevailing law and order situation during the Panchayat polling in the state.

Bose, who is taking a round of several areas where polling is in process, expressed dissatisfaction at the orgy of violence across the state.

The Guv asked, ” Who will protect the protectors of democracy.”

” The Election Commission is seen nowhere, yet the Commissioner is tight-lipped, ” Bose stated. The Guv said he was told that killings and violence were being reported from different parts of the state.

” Who is going to protect the ordinary people? The Election Commission is silent. I have asked him to reply to me who is there to protect the people and the democracy, ” Bose asserted.

The Trinamool Congress alleged it was a failure on the part of central forces tasked with security.

Besides violent clashes that injured scores of people, ballot boxes were destroyed in at least two polling booths. Meanwhile, till 11 AM only 22.6 per cent of votes were cast, the lowest of all time in the history of rural Bengal.

Since the rural poll was announced on June 8 last, at least 29 people have been killed, media reports said. TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh said the majority of the victims were their supporters.

He described the Governor as a “BJP agent” and alleged that Bose was campaigning even today on the streets.

Ghosh said, ” Bose must be ready with bags and baggage after July 11, the day poll results will be announced.

The party alleged, ” Those who advocated for the principles of democracy are the ones responsible for its demise. Incumbent Pradhan of Bidyanandpur Gram Panchayat BRUTALLY ATTACKED by @INCWestBengal workers in Uttar Dinajpur. The Central Forces are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. “

” In Baroj Gram Panchayat, Bhagabanpur-II Block, BJP MLA Rabindranath Maity was seen capturing the booths with the help of the CRPF. Our supporters are being TORTURED & ASSAULTED by the BJP Goons. Meanwhile, THE CRPF PLAYS THE ROLE OF A MUTE SPECTATOR, ” the party tweeted.

” Is this why @BJP4Bengal DEMANDED the deployment of Central Forces? To assist them in INFLICTING VIOLENCE upon the people of Bengal? ” it asked.

” @BJP4India, @CPIM_WESTBENGAL and @INCWestBengal must be enjoying their front-row seats in this theatre of death and mass destruction. The tragic deaths of two of our party workers in Basanti and Katwa highlight the incompetence of Central Forces who have been nothing but mute spectators. Is this how you celebrate democracy? ” the party further asked.

” @BJP4Bengal stoops to new lows in their assault on democracy. They shamelessly opened fire outside a polling booth in Dinhata, Cooch Behar, preventing people from exercising their fundamental right to vote. Such desperate tactics only expose their attempt to obstruct free and fair elections, ” it stated.

West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday alleged that the State Panchayat election is a “Carnival of DEMO’N’CRACY”.

” West Bengal Panchayat Elections – Carnival of DEMO’N’CRACY. Mamata Banerjee’s henchman & contract killer; State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sinha is executing her plans across the State, ” tweeted Adhikari.

Adhikari also called for “Kalighat Chalo” and demanded the imposition of Article 356 or

355 to safeguard democracy as the state was witness to an orgy of violence since the declaration of the Panchayat poll.

“West Bengal Panchayat Elections-Carnival of Democracy,” Mamata Banerjee’s henchman & contract killer, State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha is executing her plans across the state. This is their democracy model,” Adhikari, the Nandigram MLA, posted on his Twitter account.

He also called upon the people and his supporters for “Kalighat Chalo” and to remove the bricks there come what may.

” I will lead the march if firing happens. I am ready to face for restoration of democracy in Bengal, ” he thundered.

” I left her party (TMC) and friendship in a bid to save democracy,” and demanded imposition of Article 356 or 355 in the state. I don’t mind what Delhi says but I demand the imposition of those articles and lead ‘Kalighat Chalo’ and remove bricks there. I don’t mind even if 10-20 people are killed in the firing, but I want to restore democracy in Bengal, ” Adhikari asserted.

State BJP President alleged, ” Ballot papers found in a pond at Dinhata. This is how Panchayat elections are taking place. All electoral processes are being violated. “

” Where is the ‘Hack EVM’ gang now? Is this why CM Mamata Banerjee and her target EVM too? ” Majumdar asked.

” I visited booth No 176, Sukhdevpur, Dakshin Dinajpur today. Police personnel told us that save us from these goons. These goons are taking all measures to rig this election. They aren’t even sparing police personnel. This is the shocking reality of Didi’s ruling. @CEOWestBengal, ” he further alleged.

Majumdar accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of “unleashing a reign of terror” stating, ” Democracy is dead in West Bengal. “

” Polling booth at Baravita Primary School in Sitai, Coochbehar is vandalised and ballot papers are set on fire, ” Majumdar stated.

Alleging that TMC hooliganism has crossed all limits and is now stifling democracy by looting ballots openly in the West Bengal Panchayat elections, he said, ” Didi and her goons’ style of mockery of the voting never disappoint. Ballot Boxes are set ablaze in Coochbehar district. The polling officials have fled. “

Asking where is SEC? Majumdar said, ” SEC has failed completely despite court orders. “

” Shame on CM @MamataOfficial. Democracy is vanished in the state and it’s a dark chapter of India’s electoral history. SEC has failed to deploy central forces despite court orders, ” the BJP President further alleged.

BJP leader Amit Malviya tweeted, ” Bodies are dropping like pins in Bengal. The wave of political violence unleashed in the run-up to Panchayat polls, continues unabated. Mamata Banerjee, as Home Minister of WB, is squarely responsible for this. WB Govt, in collusion with SEC, has denied people right to vote…”

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