ANI Photo | “Death toll is mounting”: TMC slams opposition parties amid violence in WB Panchayat polls

The Trinamool Congress has hit out at the opposition parties in the state who were clamouring for the deployment of central forces in West Bengal amid the violence, questioning where were the central forces at the time of violence which claimed several lives.
Taking a jibe, TMC said that the death toll due to the election-related incidents is mounting under the “close supervision of Central Forces”.

“Under the close supervision of Central Forces, the death toll keeps mounting! A devastating bomb attack claimed the life of our party worker in Manikchak, Malda. In Narayanpur-I Gram Panchayat of Nadia,” the party said in a tweet.
In another tweet, it claimed that the workers of the CPI (M) opened fire at the TMC candidate’s husband.
“@CPIM_WESTBENGAL hooligans opened fire on our candidate, Hasina Sultana’s husband. They hurled crude, country-made bombs at our workers moments before the start of the elections. Despite the deployment of Central Forces, our worker from Salbari-II Gram Panchayat of Jalpaiguri was critically wounded by @BJP4Bengal goons,” it said.
The ruling party in the state further said that the recent incidents of violence not only raise serious doubts about the competence and preparedness of the central forces but also expose the hollowness of the claims made by BJP, CPI(M) and Congress about their role in ensuring peaceful elections.
“Prior to the elections, the Central Forces have proven to be woefully inadequate in fulfilling their duty to protect citizens. Why are they faltering and letting down the people they were supposed to safeguard?” the party asked.
Sharing a purported video of an on-duty BSF personnel, the party claimed that he was threatening the voters at Gitaldaha-II in Cooch Behar causing a hindrance in the polling process.
“BRAZEN DISPLAY OF AUTOCRACY! BSF Personnel threatened the voters at Gitaldaha-II in Cooch Behar and tried to cause a hindrance in the polling process. The involvement of the BSF in the panchayat elections is unnecessary and unwarranted yet they are harassing our people. Not a single officer from the Central Forces was found on the scene to tackle the situation,” the TMC said.
Notably, the State Election Commission has set up a total of 61,636 polling booths to conduct fair and impartial elections for 3317 Gram Panchayats, 341 Panchayat Samitis and 20 Zila Parishads in the State of West Bengal on Saturday.
To ensure the safe conduct of the polls, 59,000 personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and other State Armed Police Forces have been deployed at sensitive polling booths and the rest of the troops of CAPF and SAP along with local state police have been given the responsibility of security at the remaining polling booths.
The polls are likely to see a fierce tussle for control of local administrations between the ruling TMC and the BJP and will be a litmus test for both parties ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Around 5.67 crore voters are likely to exercise their franchise to choose representatives for nearly 928 seats across 22 zilla parishads, 9,730 panchayat Samiti, and 63,239-gram panchayats seats.
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.
In 2018, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) won uncontested, 34 per cent of the seats in panchayat elections, which also saw various instances of violence. Trinamool Congress has won many seats uncontestedly in the 2023 elections as well

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