CPM MP assaulted in panchayat poll violence

Kolkata: Veteran CPM leader Basudeb Acharia was assaulted allegedly by Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters as clashes broke out in several districts between activists of the TMC and opposition parties — BJP, Congress and Left — in continuing political violence during filing of nominations for the May panchayat polls.

Several people were injured in the clashes on Saturday involving ruling Trinamool Congress and Congress in Kandi area in Murshidabad district and between BJP and TMC workers in Coochbehar and Birbhum districts

Bombs were hurled in Birbhum’s Mohammad Bazar area following a scuffle between BJP and TMC workers over filing of nominations for the panchayat polls.

A huge contingent of police personnel was rushed to the spot.

“The situation is right now under control,” said a police official.

Poll-related violence was reported from Nalhati and Labhpur in the district during the past few days.

District BJP leaders alleged that goons supported by the TMC brutally beat up BJP candidates when they were on their way to file nominations. The allegation was denied by the district TMC leadership.

West Bengal has been rocked by political violence since the filing of nominations started for panchayat polls on April 2. The last date of filing nomination is April 9. In Purulia, septuagenarian CPM leader and nine-time MP Basudeb Acharia was assaulted allegedly by TMC supporters near the block development office at Kashipur on Friday, party sources said on Saturday.

Acharia was accompanying CPM candidates who were on their way to file nominations at the BDO office for the panchayat polls.

He was later admitted to Purulia sadar hospital with abdominal injuries, the hospital said.

The TMC has denied any role in the incident.

In Coochbehar, police used baton charge to disperse activists of the TMC and the BJP after clashes broke out between the groups over filing of nominations.

BJP Coochbehar district president Nikhil Ranjan Dey claimed that the TMC had attacked BJP candidates and had tried to stop them from filing nominations. TMC leader Binay Burman denied the allegations and accused the BJP of trying to destroy peace of the area.

In Kandi area of Murshidabad district, a Congress stronghold, unidentified miscreants attacked a rally of Congress supporters led by state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury.

The Congress has accused TMC of being the mastermind behind the attack, while TMC has denied the allegations.

Infuriated over the attacks, Chowdhury along with Congress supported gheraoed a local police station and demanded arrest of the culprits.

“The opposition is not allowed to file nominations, is this a sign of healthy democracy? Why are they so afraid of opposition filing nominations?” Chowdhury said.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party will not “leave a single inch without putting up a fight”.

“If we are attacked with bombs, guns and sword then TMC should not expect us to serve them sweets,” Ghosh said.

TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee accused the opposition BJP of trying to foment trouble in the state by “importing outsiders” from neighbouring states.

The rural polls are scheduled to take place in the first week of May in three phases.



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