As counting of Panchayat poll votes underway in West Bengal, Governor CV Ananda Bose on July 11 said that there will be a relentless fight against growing violence in Bengal while adding that all authorities will come down with a heavy hand on goons and lawbreakers.
“There will be a relentless fight against growing violence in Bengal. Those who commit violence in the field will be made to curse the day they are born. All authorities will come down with a heavy hand on the goons and lawbreakers…”, Governor CV Ananda Bose said. He further assured making Bengal a safe place for the new generation, while adding that there will be very stern action against the ‘control room goons who control goons on the field.’
“…We will certainly take stern action against the control room lords those who sit in political control rooms and guide or remote control the goons on the field. It will be an all-out action. There will be certainly very stern action because this violence is affecting the future of the new generation…we will make Bengal a safer place for the new generation to live in…”, he added.
Governor CV Ananda Bose will visit South 24 Parganas district, including Bhangar and Canning, to take stock of the situation on the counting of votes for the Panchayat election.
Security has been deployed at various counting centres across districts in light of alleged rigging, booth capturing, and multiple reports of electoral malfeasance and voter intimidation during the polling.
The polls, which were billed as a test of the popularity of the Mamata Banerjee Government in light of multiple arrests in connection with the alleged teachers’ recruitment scam, saw several lives lost in the violence on July 8, the original polling day.
The outcome of the polls would also give an indication of where the BJP, the principal opposition party in the state, stands in West Bengal ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
The decision to hold re-polling followed widespread allegations of ballot box tampering and violence, resulting in losing at least 19 lives.
At first, votes for the Gram Panchayats will be counted, followed by those cast for Zilla Samitis and Zilla Parishads.All the counting centres will have an adequate deployment of central forces, which will be monitored by CCTV cameras.
Earlier on July 10, BJP National President JP Nadda nominated a four-member fact-finding committee to visit the violence-hit areas of the state and send a report. The delegation includes former Union minister and party MP Ravishankar Prasad, (convenor), former Mumbai Police commissioner, Satyapal Singh, Rajdeep Roy, and Rekha Verma.
“BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda has nominated a four-member fact-finding committee to visit the violence-affected areas in West Bengal, where many people were killed in panchayat-related elections violence. The committee will submit its report to the Party National President at the earliest,” read an official release by the party on July 10.
The BJP, meanwhile, accused the State Election Commission (SEC) of not ordering repolling at “thousands of booths” where they should have.
Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, said he will move Calcutta High Court and present evidence collected by his party of alleged malpractice in thousands of booths during Saturday’s polling.
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to the State Election Commission (SEC) on July 10, demanding an impartial, free and fair counting of votes in the presence of central forces.
The panchayat elections were held on July 8 under tight security, with approximately 5.67 crore voters deciding the fates of 2.06 lakh candidates vying for 73,887 seats in the rural areas of West Bengal.
During the initial polling, security forces from the Centre and the state were deployed at all 61,636 polling booths to ensure a free and fair election.
A significant number of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and State Armed Police (SAP) personnel were deployed at sensitive booths, while the rest were assigned security duties along with local state police.
(with inputs from ANI)