With panchayat elections becoming bloodier with every successive phase,political parties are expectedly playing the blame game.
Besides her rivals,the CPM and Congress,the target of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,who also holds the portfolio of Home Department and is responsible for maintaining law and order,remains the State Election Commission (SEC) as well as Central forces.
Campaigning for the Trinamool Congress at Jateshwar in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday,ahead of the fifth and last phase of the elections,Mamata said: Central security forces are killing innocent villagers. Her government had bitterly opposed deployment of Central forces for the polls.
She also blamed the fourth phase violence on the CPM-Congress culture. Why did the fourth phase witness such a level of violence? Mamata asked her party cadres rhetorically. Because the fourth phase covered Malda and Murshidabad where the CPM and Congress are major political parties and Trinamool Congress is not yet a big force. Politics of violence is their culture. In Trinamool-dominated districts,the voting was peaceful.
Blaming the SEC,she said that had the polls not dragged for so long,they would have been peaceful.
If there was a one-day polling,I would not have allowed this to happen, she said at another rally at Falakata in the same district.
The elections are to cover 69,000 booths across the state. One or at the most two phases would have been enough. The state police was adequate to handle the polls, she added.
Not admitting that her own partys senior leaders,like Anubrata Mandal,Tapas Pal,Manirul Islam,incited violence with their provocative speeches,she warned that opposition leaders will not be spared for violence. Those fighting for area domination using bombs and guns should know the law will not spare them. Leaders providing incitement with bombs should remember Bengal has no place for miscreants, she said. The CPM,on its part,blamed the escalating violence on factionalism in Trinamool.
Accusing the Mamata-led government of destroying democratic values of the state,Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the Trinamool leaders were now competing with each other to score brownie points.
He alleged that the Trinamool had let loose a reign of terror in the last four phases by indulging in rigging and booth capturing.
Senior Congress leader and Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury alleged that the Trinamool Congress,CPM and the police have ganged up to kill his party workers.
The CPM,Trinamool and the police have joined hands to kill Congress workers. How can the CPM,which has been decimated in the state,kill our workers? he said while underlining reports of more deaths of Congress workers in his home district Murshidabad on Tuesday.
WITH PTI inputs