Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Sunday said stopping a candidate from filing nomination for Panchayat polls in West Bengal was against the spirit of democracy and not part of Bengal’s culture. Meghwal, the Minister of State for Water Resources, was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Indian Museum programme at Kolkata. When asked about the recent incidents of violence surrounding the filing of nominations of Panchayat polls in the state, Meghwal said it went against the spirit of democracy and did not gel with the culture of Bengal.
“Whatever is happening related to Panchayat elections in Bengal is not proper for democratic traditions, there should not be any violence during or in the run-up to polls,” he said. He said every election — be it Panchayat, Corporation, Municipalty, Assembly or Lok Sabha — should be held in a peaceful manner.
Asked if the state government was being able to conduct the Panchayat polls peacefully, Meghwal said, “How can we say the state government is able to cope with the situation, going by the images we see and informaion we get?” The Calcutta High Court has stayed the ongoing Panchayat election process in the state expressing displeasure over the decision of the State Election Commission to cancel its own order of extending the nomination process by a day.
The opposition parties in the state have been alleging widespread violence during the filing of nominations. Asked about the Trinamool Congress’ charge that the BJP mounted the communal plank to win votes, Meghwal said BJP never played such brand of politics.
“BJP gives stress on cultural relations. This country espouses the spirit of cultural nationalism and none can ignore that,” he said.