Violence continues ahead of WB rural polls

Violence continues ahead of WB rural polls

24th June 2023 0 By Mathias Stephen
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Toll in unabated poll-related bloodbath rises to 9 in Bengal as TMC leader killed in Purulia.

KOLKATA:  A Trinamool Congress leader was shot dead in Purulia late on Thursday night, taking the death toll to nine in the local body polls-related violence. TMC’s town president in Adra, Dhananjay Choubey, who was in his late 40s, was sitting outside his party office when three men riding a motorcycle came and opened fire. 

Five bullets were pumped into his body. He was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. “We identified the assassins and two of them were arrested,” said a police officer. Local Congress leader Nepal Mahato said there should be an impartial investigation. “The murder is condemnable. If necessary, the CBI may be engaged to find out the actual killers,” he said.

The police have arrested two Congress workers in connection with the deadly attack in Purulia. Ever since the single-phase elections to the local bodies were announced on June 9, violence has continued unabated in the state. Unabated violence ahead of the rural polls has triggered a face-off between Governor C V Ananda Bose and the ruling TMC. 

Bose had visited the strife-hit Bhangar area in South 24 Parganas where three persons were killed during violence on the last day for submitting nominations on June 15. Reacting to violence in the state, Bose said: “Victory depends on the count of votes, not dead bodies.”

Hitting back, the TMC accused the governor of intervening in the rural polls. “The governor is overstepping his constitutional rights,” TMC’s spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said. On Friday, a senior official of the State Election Commission (SEC) said the Union Home ministry sanctioned 315 companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Force (CAPF) to be deployed for the upcoming rural polls. 

The state poll panel requisitioned another 485 companies of CAPF for the rural polls. The state poll panel, after being slammed by the Calcutta High Court, sought 800 additional companies of CAPF. Earlier, the SEC had asked for only 22 companies of CAPF following a high court order directing to deploy central force in all 22 districts. 

The SEC had moved the Supreme Court to challenge the high court’s order which was not entertained. 

BJP’s state president Sukanta Majumdar said the BJP supporters, who were on the run fearing attack by the TMC’s goons, started returning to their homes as the central force personnel started arriving in the state. “It is not possible to send 800 companies of CAPF in one go,” he said. 

On Thursday, a war of words broke out between the governor and CM Mamata Banerjee after the constitutional head of Bengal returned the joining report of state election commissioner Rajiv Sinha, casting a shadow on the continuation of the state poll panel head.  Mamata, before leaving for Patna to attend an Opposition meeting, said the state poll panel head cannot be removed on whims and fancies.

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