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Violence over Panchayat boards formation: One dead, several hurt in clashes across West Bengal

Speaking to reporters, Trinamool Congress district president Amal Acharya said, “This groupism won’t be tolerated. Both factions have to be accountable to the party for this.”

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: August 26, 2018 4:06:04 am
Six seats in the area had been clinched by Trinamool Congress during the panchayat elections, while the other five went to independents. (Express photo by Shashi Ghosh)

One person was killed and several were injured during clashes in many districts over the formation of panchayat boards on Saturday, police said. The violence took place a day after the Supreme Court refused to interfere in the seats won unopposed by the TMC in the panchayat polls. The deceased, Lal Mohammad (50), was killed during a clash in Islampur area of North Dinajpur over the election of the president of Panditpota 1 gram panchayat. He was the previous panchayat pradhan. Around 6 people have been detained in the case.
“The deceased was hit by a crude bomb. A case has been lodged. Investigation is on,” Cooch Behar SP Anoop Jaiswal told The Sunday Express.

Six seats in the area had been clinched by Trinamool Congress during the panchayat elections, while the other five went to independents. Later, all the independents joined TMC. Sources said the clash broke out as the two factions were fighting over the pradhan’s post.
“In Islampur of North Dinajpur district, clashes erupted with bombs and pistols between two factions of TMC on Saturday morning over formation of the panchayat board. One person was killed and few were injured. But the police are inactive. Even Trinamool workers are not safe in Bengal,” the CPM tweeted from its official handle.

Speaking to reporters, Trinamool Congress district president Amal Acharya said, “This groupism won’t be tolerated. Both factions have to be accountable to the party for this.”

Aside from North Dinajpur, violence was also reported from Nadia, Malda, Birbhum and Cooch Behar. A large police force was deployed in Pochagarh gram panchayat area of Cooch Behar, where tensions rose after a section of the TMC openly resisted party orders and elected a different pradhan, said sources.

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In Malda, a BJP member’s house was allegedly set on fire while in Sadaipur of Birbhum, a victory rally by TMC was allegedly attacked by BJP supporters. The ruling party had taken out the rally to celebrate the SC verdict.

During the three-tier state panchayat elections in May, Opposition parties claimed they could not file nominations for 20,698 seats.
These seats were won uncontested by the TMC. Of the remaining seats that went to polls, the TMC won 95 per cent of zilla parishad seats, around 81 per cent of panchayat samitis, and nearly 67 per cent of gram panchayat seats.

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