A number of clashes were reported between workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, some while candidates were filing nomination papers for the upcoming panchayat elections in the state.
Clashes were reported in Murshidabad, where workers from both sides resorted to stone pelting. Several people were injured, according to TV reports.
In Bankura, BJP State Secretary Shyamapada Mondal was attacked allegedly by members of the Trinamool Congress. In a video of the incident, several men wearing helmets and with their faces covered in scarves can be seen breaking the glass of Mondal’s car while he is trying to leave. He is also dragged out of the vehicle and beaten at one point.
In Birbhum, a police officer was injured while trying to control the clashes between workers of the two parties, and in Jalpaiguri, more than 25 people were injured in similar clashes between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers while candidates were filing their nomination papers, ANI reported.
The BJP also organised a sit-in protest in Kolkata, accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of turning the “panchayat elections into a farce in the state”. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy reiterated the party’s claim that the Trinamool Congress was not allowing candidates of other parties to file their nominations, PTI reported.
Trinamool Congress Secretary General Partha Chatterjee called the allegations as baseless and accused the BJP of “trying to disturb the peace and stability of the state by flaring up communal violence”. He also claimed that the saffron party was “bringing in outsiders to create trouble during the panchayat polls”.
The BJP on Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that the ruling Trinamool Congress was not allowing its candidates to file their nominations for the West Bengal panchayat elections scheduled for May 1, May 3 and May 5. The bench on Friday reserved its verdict for Monday.
Several such clashes were reported in Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and Alipurduar on Thursday, as well. In Nalhati, the police had to fire rounds in the air disperse the group that threw bombs near the office of the block development officer. Ramchandra Dom, an MLA of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was hit on the head during the clashes and taken to hospital, NDTV reported.
Late on Wednesday, a man, who the BJP claimed was the party’s candidate in the panchayat polls, was killed outside the office of the block development officer in West Bengal’s Bankura district. The saffron party blamed the Trinamool Congress for Ajit Murmu’s death. The West Bengal Police have neither confirmed Murmu’s political affiliations nor his attackers’ identity yet.