Mamata says Bengal panchayat violence orchestrated by opposition

Violent clashes were reported in restive Bhangar of South 24 Parganas district on Thursday

| Updated: 16 June, 2023 11:21 am IST
CM Banerjee emphasized that the administration and the police would take strict action against those responsible.

KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has accused opposition parties of orchestrating violence during the nomination process for the upcoming panchayat elections.

On Thursday, violent clashes were reported in restive Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district when workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Indian Secular Front (ISF) came face to face on the last day of filing nominations.

Reacting to criticism of violence, the TMC supremo said, “The incident in Bhangar is undoubtedly the handiwork of the Opposition. Two days ago, these Opposition leaders vandalized vehicles and raised communal slogans to incite a section of society. In response, there was a protest yesterday, during which some acts of violence were reported.”

However, the chief minister emphasized that the administration and the police would take strict action against those responsible.

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Pointing to incidents in Uttar Pradesh and Tripura, Banerjee remarked, “We have witnessed instances in Uttar Pradesh and Tripura where the Opposition wasn’t even allowed to participate in the elections. In Tripura, 90 per cent of the seats were won uncontested, which is not the case in Bengal.”

Addressing concerns about ticket distribution within the TMC, she clarified that while some individuals with a history with involvement in violence were denied party tickets.

“We may have missed a few names, but I can confirm that over 99% of the nominations have been given to credible individuals.”

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Shifting focus to national politics, particularly recent events in DMK-ruled Tamil Nadu, Banerjee commented, “All opposition-ruled states are witnessing a similar story. Whether it’s Tamil Nadu, Delhi, or Bengal, central agencies solely target opposition leaders. Those in power should remember that the people are observant and will respond in due course.”

The polling for approximately 75,000 seats in the three-tier panchayati raj system, including zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, and gram panchayats, is scheduled for July 8.

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