Opposition parties on Monday charged a farce was enacted in the panchayat polls which saw unprecedented violence, terror and rigging. In many cases voters were not allowed to exercise their franchise and the police acted like spectators, they complained.

BJP state president Dilip Ghosh alleged the state witnessed a bloodbath in the name of the panchayat poll and conditions were created for the imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. “At least 21 people were killed in violence. When 13 people died in Nandigram violence during the Left Front rule Trinamul Congress urged then Governor to visit the scene of violence. Now, the TMC chief Mamta Banerjee is the chief minister and 21 people have been killed during violence today,(Monday)” Mr Ghosh said.

A BJP delegation of Ghosh and BJP’s state panchayat poll convenor Mukul Roy and other general secretaries visited Raj Bhavan and apprised Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi of poll violence and deaths.

CPI-M MP and politburo member Mohammad Salim said the rural poll was turned into a farce.

“Goons looted ballot papers damaged ballot box, set them on fire. People were killed indiscriminately. Miscreants fired to terrorise voters in front of police. Polling officers and polling workers tried to protect them from the miscreants’ attacks instead of organising polling process.

This is a rape of democracy,” he said. CPI-M leaders, including state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, Left Front chairman Biman Bose joined a protest procession against the killing of people over panchayat poll from Moulali.

READ: Bengal panchayat polls: Six dead, Derek O’Brien says BJP, CPI(M) behind violence

Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Abdul Mannan said as apprehended state government and State Election Commission acted in tandem to make a farce of the rural polls which seeks to make a success of grassroot democracy, he said.

No one has any clue how could so many deaths occur in poll clashes after the SEC stated before the Calcutta High Court that it is satisfied with the security arrangements, Mannan said.

One wonders what was the bench mark of the commission to arrive at the conclusion that security arrangements was satisfactory, he felt.

READ: West Bengal panchayat elections | Facts, figures and everything else you need to know

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “Democracy has been murdered by TMC in West Bengal.” It has proved to be only protecting the interest of the ruling party which is to cling to power and in the process exterminate the Opposition, he added.

Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee dismissed the allegations of largescale violence and said the election had passed off “peacefully barring a few stray incidents.” He rather put the blame on the Centre and the BJP for trying to vitiate the poling process.