West Bengal violence: ‘Over 12 people killed in violence,’ says BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad

8 July, 2023 | Srishti Ruchandani

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Violence rocked West Bengal's rural polls as voting ended on Saturday leaving 16 people dead, ballot boxes vandalised and bombs thrown at rivals in a number of villages.

West Bengal has 3,341 gram panchayats and the number of village panchayat election centres is 58,594. There are 63,239 seats at the Gram Panchayat level, 9730 at Panchayat Samiti, and 928 at the Zila Parishad level. The counting of votes will be held.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Saturday that so far more than 12 people have lost their lives in violence in several areas of West Bengal on the day of panchayat elections. BJP MP Prasad said, “Violence is in full swing in the Gram Panchayat elections being held in Bengal today. So far more than 12 people have died and a large number of people have been injured.

“Once Bengal was the mother of democracy, the center of nationalist aspirations. It was the Bengal of Subhash Chandra Bose, it was the Bengal of Rabindranath Tagore, it was the Bengal of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. Is it necessary that one has to die?” He asked. The BJP MP posed another question to Mamata Banerjee asking why the ratio of violence is so high when local body elections are held in the state.

“Mamta ji, I have a question for you. Earlier many people used to die during polling in Bihar and many other states. Now violence has come down because of the increased power of the Election Commission. Elections in Bengal because of the power According to the commission, violence is less. But what is happening when your state government is conducting gram panchayat elections?” He asked.

The senior BJP MP alleged that the Central forces are not being allowed to work properly as they are not getting support on the ground. “The central forces are not being allowed to function. They are not getting support on the ground,” he claimed.

Additionally, Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted that the West Bengal police function as a political outfit.

“Mamata’s police works in the fashion of a political outfit. I don’t know if some responsible policemen are not rewarded enough or not allowed to work,” he said

The senior BJP MP also questioned the West Bengal Chief Minister whether there were disputes in her party at the booth level.

“Your own party workers are dying. So is there conflict in your party at the booth level? I have heard this,” he said.
There is fierce tussle for control of local administrations between the ruling TMC and the BJP which will be a litmus test for both parties ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.