Senior Congress leaders and MLAs observed a daylong fast at Rani Rashmoni Road in Kolkata, raising slogans against the state government with placards in hand.
"The state government is trying to turn the panchayat polls into a farce. Never before the opposition parties in the state have faced such a situation where they were not allowed to file nominations by the ruling party," state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury asserted.
"If the TMC is so confident of their development work in the past seven years, why are they afraid of opposition candidates." he said.
The Left Front, led by the CPI(M), organised a protest rally around 2.30 pm from Birla Planetarium in the Maidan area of the city to Esplanade.
"Democracy is under threat and all efforts are being made to undermine the State Election Commission, which has turned into a back office of the TMC," CPI(M) legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said.
Violence was reported from parts of West Bengal after the State Election Commission issued notification for the panchayat polls. The opposition parties accused the ruling TMC of attacking its candidates to prevent them from filing nominations.
The SEC had issued a notification to extend the deadline for filing of nominations by a day, following the allegations.
The decision was, however, reversed the next day, prompting the BJP to approach the Supreme Court and the High Court.
A single bench of the Calcutta High Court today extended the stay it had earlier imposed on the election process till the next date of hearing as an appeal on the maintainability of a petition by the BJP is pending before a division bench.