Civic poll violence should have been avoided, sends out wrong message: Trinamool MP

Cases of violence and malpractices marred the elections to 107 municipalities across West Bengal on Sunday.

Published: 01st March 2022 11:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2022 11:57 PM   |  A+A-

Trinamool flag, Trinamool Congress flag

For representational purposes (File Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: In an embarrassment to the TMC leadership, party's Lok Sabha MP Sougata Roy on Tuesday criticised the widespread violence during the civic polls in West Bengal and said it should have been avoided as it sends out a wrong message to the people.

The party said it doesn't endorse Roy's statement.

Cases of violence and malpractices marred the elections to 107 municipalities across West Bengal on Sunday.

"The incidents of violence should have been avoided as it sends out a wrong message to the people. What is happening is not good. If such incidents keep happening, people will lose faith in us," Roy told a TV news channel.

He had stirred a hornets' nest ahead of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation poll last year by saying that the party would not accept the use of violence during the voting process as the TMC had to pay a heavy price because of it in the 2018 panchayat elections.

Asked what he thought was the main reason behind the violence during the civic polls, Roy said, "We (TMC) will win based on the work done by us, there was no need for resorting to violence . Maybe the lust for power or some other reasons, I don't know. I am not aware whether the party's messages for zero tolerance to violence percolated to the grassroots."

He said if there is "so much violence in one civic poll, then it sends out a wrong message".

"It is the lust of power. We tried to stop it but couldn't achieve the goal. Activists in their bid to win are becoming violent. On one hand, there is violence, and on the other, the party leadership is saying elections are peaceful, whom will the people believe?" he questioned.

When contacted by PTI, Roy said he was not aware of any message of zero tolerance to violence during the civic polls this time by the party's top brass.

Reacting to Roy's comment, TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said the party doesn't endorse his statements.

"There were thousands of booths. Elections were peaceful, barring a few incidents. The party doesn't endorse such statements. His remark that party's message is not getting percolated to the grassroots is not right," he said.

BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said Roy's comments only prove how elections were conducted during the TMC regime.

"This proves the way polls were conducted by the TMC. Allegations of looting of votes and violence were true. But at the same time, we know that senior leaders are not happy with the way the party is functioning," he said.

Roy, who was recently dropped from the party's national working committee, had supported the idea of "one person, one post" in the camp espoused by the next-gen leaders close to TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.

Widespread violence, rigging and clashes with the police were reported from various parts of Bengal from the north to the south in one of the most extensive electoral exercises in the state since the assembly polls last year.

Opposition BJP had dubbed the poll process as a "mockery of democracy" and called a 12-hour shutdown on Monday to protest the violence.

The TMC claimed that the allegations were baseless and said opposition parties were trying to find excuses sensing defeat.

The votes will be counted on March 2.


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