PM Modi condemns silence of opposition parties in West Bengal poll violence

| Updated: 18 July, 2023 4:42 pm IST
PM Narendra Modi

KOLKATA: On a day both the ruling coalition and opposition parties displayed their show of strength at two opposite poles of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on opposition unity, questioning their silence on violence in West Bengal.

PM Modi’s comments came during his address at the virtual inauguration of Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

“Violence took place openly during the panchayat elections in West Bengal. Continuous killings are taking place in a rampant manner there. The (opposition political parties) however, have maintained complete silence on this issue,” PM Modi said during his address.

Highlighting the fact that even workers from opposition parties – Congress and Left Front – had suffered during the violence, PM Modi said, “Congress and Left workers are pleading for their lives, but their leaders have abandoned their workers for their own self-interest.”

The violence and the catastrophic situation on the day of polling took several lives and left others injured in several districts of West Bengal.

Several incidents of ballot looting, throwing away ballot boxes and setting fire to ballot paper boxes have taken place.

The BJP’s five-member fact-finding team, led by Ravi Shankar Prasad, visited various violence-hit districts in West Bengal soon after the panchayat poll.

The team also met West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Rao and urged for the security and repatriation of victims who had fled from their homes following post-poll violence.

The BJP also formed a group of five women MPs from their party to visit the areas in West Bengal that have been affected by violence. They will present a detailed report on alleged acts of violence against women during the panchayat election.

Violence seems to have become synonymous with elections in West Bengal. After the post-poll violence during the assembly election in 2021, the panchayat poll also witnessed a spate of violence. Opposition parties also alleged that many voters were not allowed to go to the booth and exercise their democratic rights.

Meanwhile, hearing a matter on electoral malpractices on the day of polling, the division bench of the Calcutta high court stated that the state election commission’s role in panchayat polls is “not very satisfactory”.

The HC division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya also observed that the result of the panchayat elections, declared by the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC), will be final only after the court’s verdict in the case.

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