Bengal Violence: An Insult of Democracy
Bengal Violence: Elections are a symbol of democracy because they demonstrate how the populace uses its power to choose or change its leaders.
However, what we see in the WB panchayat elections is the exact opposite; it is a complete insult to democracy.
Of course, Bengal has experienced this kind of political violence before. Booth capturing, assault, and other coercive measures are common during West Bengal elections and it exactly unfolded the expectations of many.
What West Bengal observed in the month of Election?
Day of Election
The panchayat polls in West Bengal on July 8 witnessed widespread violence and irregularities, resulting in the unfortunate loss of at least 12 lives.
The voting process commenced at 7 a.m., and from the morning onwards, there were reports of ballot paper snatching and clashes.
Throughout the day, incidents of booth capturing, ballot box damage, and attacks on presiding officers were reported from various districts, including Murshidabad, Cooch Behar, Malda, South 24 Parganas, North Dinajpur, and Nadia.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of raging the violence and malpractices while criticizing the State Election Commission (SEC) for failing to ensure a free and fair electoral process.
Bengal Violence: What BJP Demanded
Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition(BJP) in the state assembly, called for the imposition of the President's Rule.
Adhikari stated that West Bengal was engulfed in chaos, and he urged the Central government to intervene by invoking either Article 355 or Article 356 (President's Rule).
He alleged that more than 20,000 booths had been seized by hooligans affiliated with the ruling party, with the police present as mere spectators.
Adhikari described this situation as a severe blow to democracy and criticized the ineffective functioning of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) due to the lack of cooperation from the district police.
Reports of casualties resulting from the election-related violence began emerging in the morning itself, including the deaths of BJP polling agent Madhab Biswas in Cooch Behar district, who was allegedly shot inside a polling station, and another individual named Chiranjit Karjee, who was also reportedly shot dead in the same district.
However, the ruling party treated everything as if it had never happened.
Bengal Violence: If we talk about the whole Scenario
Over 40 individuals were dead throughout the election process in just one month, starting on June 9 with the nomination phase and ending on election day.
Rajiva Sinha, the state election commissioner, responded to harsh criticism from all sides by saying, "Those in authority at the district level are responsible for stopping violence.
Results of WB Panchayat Election
The Trinamool won 317 of the 341 panchayat samitis, followed by the BJP with six and the Left parties with two. "Others" (Independents and other parties) prevailed in nine panchayat samitis, while seven panchayat samitis produced a hung mandate.
Twenty Zilla parishads were won by the Trinamool Congress.
Bengal Violence: Protest in Kolkata
In the meantime, representatives of the Left Front, Congress, and ISF staged a rally in Kolkata on Thursday to denounce the violence that occurred during the panchayat elections.
Biman Bose, the chairperson of the Left Front, and State secretary Md. Salim were among the prominent CPI(M) members who took part in the rally from Esplanade to Entally.