Violence rocked several places in north Bengal on the day set aside by the Calcutta High court for filing of nomination papers for the rural polls in the state on Monday, even as opposition parties united in crying foul and accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of unleashing terror.
In Alipurduar, two BJP candidates were injured in a clash when Opposition candidates were allegedly debarred from filing their nomination papers.
“Almost all the opposition party members have accused the Trinamul of stopping candidates from submitting their nomination papers at the BDO’s office on Monday,” sources in the district said.
A series of clashes between BJP and Trinamul Congress workers erupted near the Kalchini BDO office under the Kalchini police station in Alipurduar. BJP candidates who failed to submit their nomination papers in Alipurduar Block-1 organized a demonstration in front of the sub-divisional officer’s chamber (SNS photo).
Administrative officials later convinced them in withdrawing the protest. “TMC members have threatened our candidates with dire consequences in all the six blocks of the district. They attacked our candidates everywhere. The administration too has become an agent of the ruling party and failed to help us,” said the Alipurduar BJP president, Ganga Prasad Sharma.
All Opposition parties united and submitted a written complaint with the district election officer and the Alipurduar district magistrate, accusing the TMC of stopping their candidates from filing their nominations. “Trinmaul Congress has dishonored the honorable High Court’s order by its repeated attempts to hinder others from submitting their nominations. We want stern action taken against Trinamul leaders,” the district Congress president, Biswaranjan Sarkar, said.
In Malda, the Congress on Monday organized protest rallies at the block level against the attack on South Malda MP Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, at Samsergunj in Murshidabad. District president of the Congress party, Mausam Noor, slammed the Trinamul over the issue and said, “Democracy is being trampled upon by the ruling party in the state. It is evident from the brutal attack launched by TMC-backed goons on our MP and my uncle, Mr Khan Choudhury, on Monday.”
Later, the Opposition held a demonstration at the Rathbari area under the English Bazaar police station. In South Dinajpur, the second phase of the submission of nomination papers witnessed clashes, demonstrations, road blocks and scuffle among members of different political parties.
More than 20 people were injured, including Kushmandi MLA Narmada Roy and BJP vice president Pradip Sarkar, in the clashes. The Opposition there accused the district administration of failing to provide proper security to them. On the other hand, TMC leaders refuted the allegations levelled against them.
Narmada Roy failed to enter the BDO office premises this morning after alleged TMC-backed goons attacked them, that too in front of the police. Mr Roy received serious injuries on his head and was immediately rushed to the Kushmandi hospital from where he was later shifted to Raiganj hospital.
On the other hand, BJP candidates from the Gangarampur block were barred from submitting their nominations again. Alleged TMC supporters attacked BJP candidates and stopped them from enter the BDO’s office. BJP district vice president, Paradip Srakar, received injuries, while nobody could file their nomination in Gangarampur on Monday. Later, BJP district leaders organized a protest rally in Balurghat and staged a demonstration in front of the district magistrate’s office, it is learnt.
The district secretary of the RSP and Balurghat MLA, Biswanath Cowdhury, said, “The district police again failed to secure peaceful nominations. In every case, police remained silent, while TMCbacked goons controlled the day.” District president of the TMC, Bipllab Mitra, however said the Opposition has no hopes in the panchayat election.
“They are trying to gain sympathy. TMC supporters are not at all responsible for the attacks,” he said. In North Dinajpur, 349 candidates representing different political parties filed in their nominations for the gram panchayat seats on Monday.
Sixty-four candidates of the TMC, 94 filed from the BJP, 52 from the Congress, 48 candidate of the CPI(M), eight from the BSP, five from the CPI, One from the AIFB-1, three from RSP, 65 Independents and nine others filed their nominations.
In the earlier phase, 5915 candidates from different parties had filed their nominations in the district. On the other hand, in the panchayat samity seats, 114 candidates from different parties filed their nomination papers on Monday.
Earlier, 1246 candidates had submitted their papers. Also, 15 candidates filed their nomination papers for the zilla parishad seats on Monday. The District Magistrate of North Dinajpur, Aiyesha Rani, said, “Candidates have filed their nominations in a peaceful manner in the district. No violence was reported from any part of the district on Monday.”
However, six persons were injured in a clash between TMC and CPI (M) activists at Ghinnigaon village under the Chopra police station in North Dinajpur in the evening. Superintendent of police Shyam Singh said the situation was, however, under control.