"The whole country saw yesterday on TV, how democracy was murdered in the West Bengal panchayat polls," he said, speaking at the BJP headquarters in Delhi on the Karnataka election results.
The Trinamool has dismissed his comments as unwarranted. "The Prime Minister has reacted to his disappointment at not getting majority in Karnataka. That's why he wanted to switch attention to Bengal," Partha Chatterjee, party secretary general, told NDTV.
PM Modi's BJP has emerged as the largest party in Karnataka with 104 seats, but is eight short of the halfway mark. The Congress with 78 and the JDS with 38 have tied up in their bid to keep the BJP out of the state. Both the BJP and the JDS have staked claim to form the next government in Karnataka.
The controversy over the panchayat polls erupted early April when Opposition parties claimed their intending candidates could not file nominations because of the Trinamool's terror tactics.
PM Modi said, "From nominations to voting, there was no security for democracy. People couldn't file nominations. There was talk of unopposed polls. Ballot boxes were found in ponds. Many party workers were killed. Not only BJP, all parties, except the ruling party."
"What happened against democracy it is a matter of great concern," he added.
"Everyone knows BJP workers created disturbance during the polls, threatened everyone. Prime Minister should not talk about democracy. In this panchayat poll, Trinamool lost highest number of workers compared to any other party and has the highest number of injured workers. Because they were protecting democratic rights of the people which BJP and others were assaulting," he said.
The prime minister said he was not accusing anyone but "in the last century, Bengal showed the way to the country, Bengal makes us proud. But this land of great people was soaked in blood just for political ends," PM Modi said.
"To heal this damage to democracy, political parties, civil society and the judiciary must play a constructive role," he said.
On May 25, PM Modi is expected at Viswa Bharati University at Shantiniketan for an event to be attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Mamata Banerjee is also scheduled to share the dais and speculation is a breakthrough in Teesta water sharing may be announced.
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