ANI Photo | West Bengal: Bombs go silent but war of words escalates day before panchayat polls

While the bombs fell silent under the watchful eyes of the central paramilitary forces, the war of words in West Bengal escalated just a day ahead of the panchayat elections on Saturday.
Coming down heavily on the state administation over the prevailing state of affairs in Bengal ahead of the rural polls, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Friday said it was ‘depressing’ that people across the state were living in fear.
Voicing concern over the situation on the ground, the Bengal governor told reporters, “It is depressing that people in those (violence-hit) areas are in a state of fear. But now what is important is tomorrow’s election. I think the permanent solution, whether it is violence or corruption, is the black ink on the index finger. That is the symbol of the strength of a common man.”
Exhorting the people to vote their conscience and find the “permanent solution” to everything they are facing, the Governor added, “Everyone should go to the polling booth and express their right to vote according to their conscience. Tomorrow is the day you will find the permanent solution to all things you are facing, including the violence. The right to vote is the highest and mightiest right in the world in a democracy.”
“I am doing it for publicity, publicity, publicity alone. To publicise the rights of the common man, to publicise the sanctity of the Constitution, to publicise that the common man will not be suppressed by any political propaganda,” he added.
Responding to the governor’s remarks, senior TMC leader and MLA Madan Mitra said he should be ousted from his post and the state, adding that he was not even a voter of West Bengal.
The Kamarhati TMC MLA further questioned how a sitting governor could urge people to vote for the BJP.
“How can he (Governor CV Ananda Bose) campaign and urge people to vote for BJP and not for TMC? Is he above the law? He should be ousted from Bengal immediately because as he is not a voter of our state. He is a voter of Kerala,” Mitra said.
However, the BJP’s West Bengal president, Sukanta Majumdar said the governor met all the victims of violence in the state, regardless of the political affiliations or party memberships, adding that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also holds the constitutional mandate to do the same but did not.
“The governor is visiting violence-hit places and meeting the kin of those, who lost their lives, irrespective of their party affiliations. He visited the family members of TMC victims as well. The CM also has a similar mandate but since she has refrained from visiting the familes of victims, irrespective of which party they belong to, the governor is doing it,” Majumdar said.
Earlier, on Friday, polling officers in Hooghly district went about their business as they were seen preparing ballot papers and boxes ahead of the panchayat polls.
A search operation and security sweep was also conducted by a police team in the violence-scarred South 24 Parganas district in the wee hours of Saturday.
Earlier, on April 25, the Trinamool Congress had launched a two-month-long campaign ‘Trinamooley Nabajowar’ to reach out to the people ahead of the rural polls.
The state saw multiple incidents of violence around the filing of nominations and after, and, in one such incident, crude bombs were hurled at a Block Development Office (BDO) at Ahmadpur in Birbhum district.
Further, a TMC worker was allegedly beaten to death in the Malda district.
The panchayat elections will be held in a single phase on Saturday, with the counting of votes scheduled on July 11.
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

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