Kolkata: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP on Tuesday traded fire as initial trends in the counting for the three-tier Panchayat election in the state showed the TMC was far ahead of its rivals.
The polls, held on July 8, were marred by widespread violence. So far 38 people belonging to different political parties have died in violence since the announcement of the elections last month.
On Tuesday, West Bengal’s Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari accused the ruling Trinamool Congress activists of making one last “desperate attempt” to “steal” the elections by “obstructing” the agents and candidates of BJP and other opposition political parties from entering the counting halls.
Taking to twitter, Adhikari stated, “Diamond Harbour Model” is in full swing on the Counting Day also. TMC goons are making the last desperate attempt to steal the Elections by obstructing the Counting Agents & Candidates of @BJP4Bengal and other opposition political parties from entering the Counting Hall.”
Diamond Harbour is the Lok Sabha constituency of Trinamool Congress national general secretary and party chief Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
“They (opposition counting agents and candidates) are being restricted from going towards the venue from 1-2 kms afar. Bombs are being hurled to intimidate the Counting Agents. They are being mercilessly beaten up, even kidnapped,” the BJP MLA from Nandigram said.
Demanding the State Election Commission (SEC) halt the counting process and ensure all opposition counting agents and candidates were able to reach the counting centres unobstructed, Adhikari averred that only when they reach the venue, the counting process should begin.
The Trinamool Congress hit back soon, with its spokesman Kunal Ghosh dismissing Adhikari’s allegations as his “last attempt to plant excuses” for his party’s impending “humiliating defeat’.
“Mr Adhikari is making baseless accusations against TMC, conveniently forgetting how, at his instigation, his party workers hurled bombs outside the polling station in his home district, Purba Medinipur, yesterday (Monday), ” Ghosh tweeted.
“He will also not talk about how Ajoy Roy, a BJP leader from Dinhata, forced his way into the strong room last night, with the help of Central Forces, ” he alleged.
Accusing the BJP of making every attempt possible to “wreak havoc” on the electoral process, Ghosh said, ” Yet, after all this, Mr. Adhikari has the audacity to point finger at us. ”
“Rejected by people, this is his last attempt to plant excuses for his party’s, soon to be confirmed, humiliating defeat, ” he asserted.
He alleged that violence against the TMC candidates and party workers show no signs of abating, even on the day of counting/
“This is a clear sign of their frustration and fear of defeat. The culture of violence perpetuated by CPIM has no place in a civilised society, ” he iterated.
The CPI-M led Left Front ruled the state from 1977 to 2011 when the coalition was emphatically defeated by a Mamata Banerjee-headed Trinamool-Congress-SUCI(C) combine.
However, now the Congress and the LF are allies in the state and are fighting the Panchayat polls together.
As per initial counting trends, the Trinamool has left the BJP, and the LF-Congress combine far behind in the contests for the Gram Panchayat and Panchayat Samiti – the two lower rungs of the three-tier rural self-governing system. UNI SJC-PC SSP