Mamata Banerjee’s regret won’t help: BJP fact-finding committee

BJP delegation meets West Bengal Governor, demands security and repatriation for victims of post-poll violence

| Updated: 13 July, 2023 5:07 pm IST
Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad met West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose

KOLKATA: A fact-finding team comprising five members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) met with West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose to demand security and repatriation for victims who had fled their homes following the post-poll violence that ensued after the announcement of the results for the West Bengal panchayat election.

Led by BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, the delegation appraised the Governor of their findings at Raj Bhawan before heading to Basanti, Kuntali, and Diamond Harbour.

Expressing his concerns, Prasad said, “What kind of police does Mamataji have? Poor people are being beaten, their houses demolished, and even children as young as six years old are suffering. No investigation is taking place.”

Referring to Mamata Banerjee’s statement, where she expressed regret over the killings, Prasad emphasised that mere regret was not enough and that action was necessary.

“Yesterday, Mamta Banerjee stated that she regrets the killings. However, I say that a mere regret won’t help. Action is required,” Prasad said.

Prasad stated that the purpose of meeting the Governor was to seek his intervention in protecting the lives and dignity of the affected individuals and to ensure thorough investigations into the attacks.

“We prayed to him that, as a constitutional head, you should worry about them. Their lives and dignity should be protected and incidents where people have been attacked should be probed,” he added.

In her first press conference after the panchayat election, CM Mamata Banerjee addressed the issue, saying, “I am sad and sympathetic towards all those who have died. They are victims of circumstances.”

She also announced that the state would provide ₹2 lakh compensation to the 19 people who lost their lives since the announcement of the election dates.

CM Banerjee emphasised that the compensation would be extended to victims from all parties, including 10-12 from the Trinamool Congress itself, and their kin would be offered jobs as Home Guards.

CM Banerjee further stated that the Trinamool Congress had been subjected to lies and malicious campaigns. She accused the BJP of lacking political decency and expressed her willingness to face punishment if proven wrong.

CM Banerjee criticised the central government, alleging that since the BJP came to power in 2014, its attitude towards opposition-ruled states had changed, creating hindrances in the functioning of state governments.

The post-panchayat election period in West Bengal has been marked by debates and reports of both accounted and unaccounted violence.

The Calcutta High Court, while hearing a case, expressed dissatisfaction with the state election commission’s role in the three-tier panchayat polls. The court stated that the victory of those declared winners by the Commission would be considered final only after the court’s verdict on the case related to electoral malpractices, with the next hearing scheduled for July 20.

The violence and chaotic situation on the day of polling resulted in the loss of several lives and left many others injured across various districts of West Bengal. Incidents of ballot looting, throwing away ballot boxes, and setting fire to ballot paper boxes have been reported.

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