Mass violence against opposition parties like BJP, Congress and CPM by ruling TMC workers is being reported in the run up to Bengal panchayat elections. One Dalit candidate of BJP, Ajit Mumuru (35), has been hacked to death allegedly in an attack by TMC goons outside the BDO office in Bankura, while a BJP District Secretary was thrashed and stabbed inside the District Magistrate’s office in Birbhum.
In a tweet, BJP’s National Joint General Secretary has stated that 331 people have been injured (44 of them hospitalized) in 139 incidents of violence related to panchayat polls in the state, and 1 person is missing.
Daily Pioneer reports that Bengal Governor KN Tripathi has summoned State Election Commissioner, Chief Secretary and Home Secretary after hearing about large-scale pre-electoral violence over filing of nominations in the three-phase panchayat elections beginning May 1. The report adds –
“Armed Trinamool Congress goons have literally taken control of most subdivision and block administrative offices. What rest of India saw in a single day over Dalit unrest, Bengal witnessed in tranches for the past couple of days even as major political parties suffered at the hands of Mamata Banerjee’s men.
By the sundown reports of unremitting violence poured in from Indus, Sonamukhi and Patrasayar in Bankura, Arambagh in Hooghly, Raghunathganj, Jiaganj in Murshidabad, Mangalkot, Ketugram in Burdwan and Rampurhat, Luvpur and Ilambazar in Birbhum district. In all cases the police looked the other way, parties complained.
The audacity brimmed over in Birbhum where BJP district secretary Kalosona Mondal was badly thrashed and stabbed in his backside right inside the District Magistrate’s office and he had literally to take shelter inside the district court, sources said.
The leader was subsequently admitted to the district hospital in Siuri. In neighbouring Murshidabad, BJP district president Gouri Shankar Ghosh was thrown on the road and badly thrashed with wickets along with his party men who had gone to file nominations, source said.
At Arambagh, Goghat and other places the opposition parties were targeted irrespective of their political colours. The CPI(M) too complained of massive violence against their sub-district level leaders many of whom had been hospitalised.
Hordes of armed Trinamool hoodlums camped outside block, sub-division and district administrative offices. In many places like Birbhum their district bosses organized mass feast for the “labour” they put in to realize Chief Minister’s dreams of an opposition-less state apparently to avert a Tripura-like electoral landslide.”
India Today has also reported unabated violence over filing of nomination papers, with armed goons seen openly firing from pistols and brandishing machetes while attacking a BJP rally at Raiganj in North Dinajpur district. Congress candidates at the BDO office in Berhampore were also prevented from filing nomination by TMC supporters.
The India Today report adds that even journalists have not been spared – “In Coochbehar, four journalists were hospitalised after being assaulted while covering the ongoing violence. According to eyewitnesses, TMC workers were obstructing BJP candidates.”
BJP leader Mukul Roy, the man in-charge of the party’s panchayat election campaign, said that while the election commissioner was in favour of bringing in central forces for the polls, his hands were tied because he had “no power.”
“Today Bengal is bleeding. Those who are trying to file their nomination, they are being beaten, stabbed and families are being threatened. In Bengal, democracy is being raped by the state government under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee. The commissioner is aware of the situation but his hands are tied. He agreed with us that central paramilitary forces are required but he has no power. We shall move the Supreme Court in order to get some direction,” Roy told reporters.
CPI(M) politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra said, “We must all fight this together. We shall not give an inch without resisting such attacks. The ruling party wants to make sure they wipe out all opposition from the panchayats.”
However, the ruling TMC once again rubbished the allegations terming it a pressure tactic by the opposition.
“First Martyr” says Telegraph
The Telegraph, a Kolkata-based left-liberal newspaper, has described Ajit Murmu as the “first martyr” of the election-related violence in the opening line of their report, thereby lending credence to the TMC position that Murmu is a ‘martyr’ of factionalism within the BJP.
Faced with overwhelming evidence of the terror created by TMC hooligans,The Telegraph tried to defend TMC higher-ups by claiming that ‘sources in the ruling establishment admitted privately that the open use of firearms and the blatant intimidation was embarrassing.’
“The leadership is not happy with the excesses, especially because thumping victories are guaranteed anyway…. Most of these are a fallout of overzealous local units trying to ensure uncontested victories,” said the source to The Telegraph.
Readers can contrast this blatant apologia for the TMC-terror to how papers like The Telegraph and other members of the left-liberal ecosystem would have outraged if similar violence by ruling party workers was reported from any BJP-ruled state during elections?
Violence during elections, open intimidation of voters & dismissal of rapes as ‘fabricated stories’ by the sitting CM, a free hand to Islamists to run amok, state support for illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya settlers – these actions would have been sufficient to create an outcry against a State Government and have it dismissed under Article 356 in the normal scheme of things.
But Mamta is untouchable as she is the one of the pillars of the secular lobby which has only one thing in its sights right now – the removal of Narendra Modi in LS 2019 and reversal to ‘business as usual’ in Delhi. So BJP’s WB unit can plead all it wants for central intervention – they and the common Bengali Hindu on the ground will just have to fend for themselves, as any central action against Mamta will trigger a massive outrage by the secular ecosystem. Experience of the past 4 years has shown that BJP’s central leadership has realized it is fighting a lone battle and thus it is not willing to invest any political capital in a centre-state Constitutional battle.
Did you like this article? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.