2 Killed In Poll-Related Violence, Bengal Panchayat Elections Turn Into Murky Battle

The Trinamool Congress had won 16 gram panchayat seats unopposed in the area. But as 3000 odd party supporters began their march, a man in his 40s, later identified as Rajab Ali, rushed into the crowd and attacked Rehman with a dagger.

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2 Killed In Poll-Related Violence, Bengal Panchayat Elections Turn Into Murky Battle

A huge police picket has been posted in the area where a man was beaten to death. (File)

Kolkata:  Uncertainty is hanging heavy over the West Bengal panchayat polls. This afternoon, the Supreme Court put the ball in the Calcutta High Court to sort out the controversy over the deadline for filing of nominations for the panchayat polls in Bengal. By the evening, two men were dead near Kolkata in poll related violence. 

A Trinamool leader, Saifur Rehman, had taken out a victory procession in the Shashon police station area in North 24 Parganas around 4 pm. The Trinamool Congress had won 16 gram panchayat seats unopposed in the area. But as 3000 odd party supporters began their march, a man in his 40s, later identified as Rajab Ali, rushed into the crowd and attacked Rehman with a dagger. 

Rehman was rushed to Barasat hospital where he was declared brought dead. Back at the spot, an enraged crowd thrashed Rajab Ali. It is not clear yet if he died on the spot or was brought dead to the hospital. A huge police picket has been posted in the area. 

Asked if he could deny violence perpetrated by Trinamool on opposition parties, Partha Chatterjee, Trinamool secretary general, said, "I am not saying that. I am only saying let the state election commission perform its job. But right from the start we have observed the opposition applying pressure tactics on the commission."

The Bengal panchayat polls have turned into a murky fight between political parties. 

On April 10, half-an-hour before nomination filing for the panchayat polls was to begin; scores of motorcycle-borne men drove into the office compound waving in the air swords, daggers, knives and axes of all shapes and sizes, shouting "Vande Mataram" near the office of the district magistrate at Bolpur in West Bengal's Birbhum district.

Although, it was not known which party they belonged to, one of the bikes bore a Trinamool flag. The BJP, CPM and Congress also blame Trinamool. But the ruling party has deflected such claims.

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The situation normalized only after the State Election Commission scrapped its order of extending time for nomination filing. The BJP had requested for the deadline to be extended to 3 pm, which the SEC had earlier accepted in response to a Supreme Court order to ensure free and fair elections in the state.

The top court has now asked the BJP to approach the Calcutta High Court over the issue.
 

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