West Bengal Panchayat elections have been marred with controversies right from the beginning. There is no end to the rampant violence and blatant poll rigging. Electoral machinery has been completely hijacked and the democratic processes subverted, the state is witnessing a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery. The State Police is a mute spectator to all of this. The entire election process has been nothing but a sham and a blot on the democratic principles enshrined in India’s constitution.
Today, on the counting day, also some serious allegations have surfaced. A Rajya Sabha MP tweeted that ABP Ananda TV is showing footage of TMC goon stamping ballot papers inside counting hall to make up vote deficit in the panchayat polls.
Democracy at work in W.Bengal. @abpanandatv showing footage of TMC goon stamping ballot papers inside counting hall to make up vote deficit in panchayat poll. And this is the party that seeks to lead the “national alternative “
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) May 17, 2018
Times Now also shared the video of blatant election rigging in Krishnaganj of Nadia District, West Bengal. Allegedly, these goons are from TMC. All this is happening on the counting Day of Panchayat Elections. Earlier, ANI had reported that the Police have seized 40 mobile phones from a counting centre set up at Jalpaiguri’s Polytechnic Institute.
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018
Even on the counting day, violence continued unabated. Clashes between TMC and BJP workers happened outside a counting centre in Birbhum.
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2018
Yesterday, mutilated body of election officer Rajkumar Roy was found. He was presiding officer deputed in Raiganj, West Bengal for Panchayat elections. He was kidnapped on duty from the polling booth and found murdered near railway tracks later.
Rajkumar Roy, Presiding officer deputed in Raiganj, West Bengal for Panchayat election. He was kidnapped on duty from polling booth and found murdered near railway track later. #SaveBengal pic.twitter.com/fYqkzpnQpu
— BJP Bengal (@BJP4Bengal) May 16, 2018
West Bengal State Election Commission has completely failed to perform its duty to ensure free and fair elections. 34% percent of the Panchayat seats went uncontested. Mainly because people are afraid to stand against TMC goons, anyone who dares to stand against these goons are threatened, attacked or killed. There were reports that TMC cadres prevented BJP candidates from filing nominations for the panchayat elections. TMC goons had assaulted candidates on their way to file nomination papers.
Disturbing reports from w. Bengal about TMC cadres preventing BJP candidates filing nominations for panchayat elections. There seems little hope of the State Election Commission doing its bit to ensure the right of non-TMC parties to event contest, never mind free and fair polls.
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) April 4, 2018
This is scary. In Mamta's Bengal the number of "Uncontested Seats" at Zila Panchayat level has shot up to from just about 1% in 2013 to whooping 25% in 2018. So much for #Poriborton that this kind of outright fear was not evident even under Left Front rule. https://t.co/vlindB5JgF
— Yashwant Deshmukh (@YRDeshmukh) April 30, 2018
When a BJP candidate refused to withdraw nominations from Bengal Panchayat polls, his pregnant relative was raped in Nadiya district in West Bengal. India Today, on 14th May, reported that angry locals are throwing out ballot box in canal after outrage over alleged rigging.
#Bengal #PanchayatElection: Angry locals trash ballot boxes into canal over allegations of rigging and booth capturing in the Jyangra-Hatiara gram panchayat in North 24 Pargana district.#ReporterDiary @iindrojit pic.twitter.com/qpjXK0yveg
— India Today (@IndiaToday) May 14, 2018
There seems to be no end to this reign of terror. India Today also reported that a BJP candidate was allegedly thrashed by TMC workers.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) April 10, 2018
On 14th May, ANI reported that ballot boxes were looted at gunpoint by unidentified people at 44, 45 and 45K booths in Murshidabad.
West Bengal: Ballot boxes looted at gunpoint by unidentified people at 44, 45 and 45K booths in Murshidabad. #PanchayatElection
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
The rampant violence, led by TMC goons, did not even spare the media. Media vehicles were attacked and damaged during the panchayat elections.
Violence in Bengal panchayat polls, media vehicle damaged
— NDTV (@ndtv) May 14, 2018
Despite evidence, TMC party leaders like Derek O’ Brien are shameless enough to defend the violence and put the blame on media. Here, they are justifying deaths using whataboutery. Bombing, booth capturing, looting ballot box, shooting and killing political opponents are ‘closer to normal’ according to him.
To all 'newborn' experts on Bengal #PanchayatElections in State have a history. 400 killed in poll violence in 1990s in CPIM rule. 2003: 40 dead.Every death is a tragedy. Now closer to normal than earlier times.Yes, few dozen incidents. Say,40 out of 58000 booths. What's %age ?
— Derek O'Brien (@derekobrienmp) May 14, 2018
Instead of taking strong action against their goons and maintaining law and order in the state, Derek O’ Brien is busy in defaming the media who is reporting the violence and electoral corruption in West Bengal.
Garbage. Reporters drive our reporting not the other way around. Scurrilous attack. Get your priorities right. Stop the violence instead of defaming Media. https://t.co/0y4ZH3qpWt
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) May 14, 2018
After the Karnataka election results, PM Modi, in his speech, mentioned about the brutal murder and violence committed by the goons of ruling TMC party. “Democracy is under severe threat in West Bengal and the photos and news which have surfaced from West Bengal prove the points” PM Modi stated in his speech.
Democracy is dying a silent death in West Bengal and the leaders of ruling party are busy in blame game. This is their usual modus operandi. To indulge in reprehensible acts and then put the blame on others and play victim cards. Truly shocking is the stoic silence maintained by the so-called intellectuals and other parties on this mockery of Democracy. Their silence gives boost and encourages the inhuman, barbaric and dictatorial rule of TMC to carry out all the immoral, unethical acts to win the elections. This election violence is hurting the sentiments of the people across the nation and it is also harming the democratic ethos of the largest democracy of the world. West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee and the TMC goons under her patronage must be questioned and held accountable for the violence in the state.
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