Bengal panchayat polls: One dead in violence on extended nomination day

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Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) The extended deadline day of filing nominations for West Bengal Panchayat polls on Monday, witnessed widespread violence and clashes between rival political groups in several districts resulting in the death of at least one person in Birbhum district.

Acting on a Calcutta High Court order, the State Election Commission extended the last day of filing nomination for the state rural election to between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.

One person was allegedly shot dead in Birbhum’s Suri on Monday afternoon during a clash between activists of the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Both the Trinamool and BJP leadership claimed the deceased was a member of their party and blamed each other for his killing.

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While the state BJP leadership claimed that deceased Seikh Dildar was a member of their party’s district minority cell and was killed by miscreants of Trinamool, Trinamool’s district Anubrata Mondal said the deceased and his family members belong to their party for many years.

“Not just Dildar, but his entire family are with Trinamool Congress for many years. BJP has brought in miscreants from neighbouring Jharkhand to terrorise the locals. He was killed by them,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, massive clashes were witnessed elsewhere in the districts of Bankua, Hoogly, East Midnapore and South 24 Parganas over the filing of nominations.

State opposition parties accused Trinamool of attacking and terrorising their prospective candidates and not letting them near the Block Development Officer offices to submit the papers.

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State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury wrote a letter to the SEC informing him about the hostile situation along with a list of complaints and photographs of violence and urged the State Election Commissioner to ensure appropriate actions.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra claimed there was no law and order in Bengal, as people were attacked.

In the morning, Congress leader Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury’s car was allegedly attacked with bricks and crude bombs outside their party office in Murshiadabad district’s Shamshergunj.

“As many as eight bombs were hurled at my vehicle outside the party office. The car has been damaged and two of my associates got injured in the incident,” he said.

Stray incidents of violence were also reported from South 24 Pargana district’s Diamond Harbour, Budge Budge and Nodakhali where the CPI-M accused gun-totting goons of Trinamool of surrounding the local BDO offices and beating up their activists.

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The opposition BJP, CPI-M, Congress and PDS had moved the court, accusing Trinamool of unleashing massive pre-poll violence against their party workers to prevent them from filing nominations ever since the poll process began on April 2.

Justice Subrata Talukdar on Friday quashed the SEC’s April 10 order that had cancelled the extension of date for filing of nominations, which the poll panel announced on April 9 night, directing it to issue a fresh extended deadline for filing of nominations in consultation with the state government and other stakeholders.

–IANS

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