Violence mars civic polls in Bengal, CPM cries foul

RSTV Bureau
Burdwan: A man is shifted to a local hospital after he gets a bullet injury in a violence at Katwa in Burdwan district of West Bengal on Saturday during Municipal elections. PTI Photo

Burdwan: A man is shifted to a local hospital after he gets a bullet injury in a violence at Katwa in Burdwan district of West Bengal on Saturday during Municipal elections. PTI Photo

Municipal elections in West Bengal were marred with violence that left several injured on Saturday. State Election Commission (SEC) received many complaints of violence, alleged malpractices and booth-capturing. According to reports, clashes took place in Asansol and Bidhan Nagar Municipal Corporations.

There were reports of outsiders trying to jam booths in various wards of Bidhannagar and Asansol municipal corporations, said the SEC.

“There were reports of bombs being hurled in Jamuria and Bidhanagar and people being stopped from casting their votes. We are taking stock of the situtation,” an official said.

“We have received complaints of rigging and violence both from political parties and individuals. In some places media personnel were also attacked, we have seen the video footages. We have asked the police to take necessary action,” said State Election Commissioner SR Upadhaya.

Reports say that media personnel were also beaten up while covering incidents of malpractices.

According to the SEC, over 40 per cent polling was recorded until 1 pm in the afternoon for civic bodies in  Bidhannagar, Asansol and Howrah.

The main opposition party CPI(M) accused the ruling TMC of unleashing terror and looting votes in the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation. CPI(M) has also called a 12-hour bandh in Bidhannagar-Rajarahat area on Monday to protest against the violence and the alleged malpractices.

“We will organize a protest march on Sunday against rigging and malpractices by TMC. They are trying to take away the democratic rights of the masses,”announced CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb.

BJP too has filed a complaint with the Election Commission over the reported violence.

TMC’s electoral invincibility will be challenged by an apparently resurging Left Front in these elections which are being seen as a semi-final before next year’s Assembly polls. The results of the polls will be announced on October 16.