Sougata Roy’s remarks on poll violence trigger row

Senior Trinamool Congress leader and MP Sougata Roy’s comment — the party will not support the use of violence or muscle power during the coming civic poll or any other local body election — has triggered a political controversy.

The political parties including the BJP took Roy’s remarks as a conscious effort to fool the people again.

While the BJP accused the party of admitting that they used force and muscle power during the previous panchayat and municipal elections, the Congress and the CPI-M said that it would never percolate to the ground level and the party would resort to violence again.

Speaking to the media, Roy said: ”It is a conscious decision by the party that we will not support the use of violence or muscle power during the coming civic poll or any other local body election.”

“If someone from the party violates this decision he/she will be doing so at his or her own responsibility and TMC might also withdraw his/her candidature,” he said.

“The party will not accept the use of violence and muscle power by its candidates during the upcoming civic polls in West Bengal. This has been a conscious decision made by the party and the party will take strong action against anyone who goes against.”

The TMC had to pay a ”heavy price” for violence during the 2018 panchayat polls as it had sent out a wrong message about the party, he said.

”We had to pay a heavy price (in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls) for it. For us, the 2024 Lok Sabha poll is more important than these local body elections,” he added.

Roy’s comment, however, stirred the hornet’s nest with the Opposition accusing the party of resorting to violence during the election.

Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said: “This only proves how elections were conducted during the TMC regime. This proves that allegations of looting of votes, violence are completely true.

“Now they are telling all these things because they have understood the people will reject them. This is another effort to fool the people,” he added.

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury welcomed Roy’s statement but wondered whether it would percolate to the ground level of the TMC.

”Roy is a gentleman. But I doubt whether what he said is the official stand of his party as its top leaders might have something different in their minds,” he added.

CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said: “The comment proves that what we were telling so long is very much true. They have now admitted it. Do you think that the people will trust them? They have lost all trust of the people. Now they are trying to save their face before civic polls.”

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