BJP claims at least 45 killed in Bengal panchayat polls, calls Mamata Banerjee 'ruthless' 

Violence rocked the July 8 rural polls, leaving 15 dead while ballot boxes were vandalised, ballot papers burnt and bombs thrown at rivals in several places.
Representational Image: Remains of burnt vehicles after the recent violence during Panchayat elections in West Bengal. (Photo | PTI)
Representational Image: Remains of burnt vehicles after the recent violence during Panchayat elections in West Bengal. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Tuesday slammed the Trinamool Congress government over the 'state-sponsored violence during the West Bengal panchayat polls, terming Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 'ruthless' and claiming that at least 45 people have died in the clashes.

Violence rocked the July 8 rural polls, leaving 15 dead while ballot boxes were vandalised, ballot papers burnt and bombs thrown at rivals in several places.

Repolling was held on Monday in 696 booths across 19 districts where voting was declared void amid allegations of ballot box tampering and violence.

As counting began on Tuesday and initial trends started pouring in, the BJP's national spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed the ruling TMC's 'dadagiri politics' was on even on the day of ballot counting.

The BJP's counting agents and that of other opposition parties were being stopped from visiting the counting centres, he claimed at a press conference in the national capital and termed the poll violence 'unprecedented'.

"Going by media reports, at least 45 people were killed during the panchayat poll violence. Bombing, bogus voting and rigging are the most used words in media reports This is 'nirmamata' (ruthlessness) and not 'mamata' (endearment)," Patra charged.

The BJP vehemently condemns the poll violence and murder of democracy in West Bengal, Patra said.

He also hit out at the Congress, Left and other parties, accusing them of being silent on the matter.

"Where are Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of 'Maha Thug Bandhan'? Not a word from them so far," the BJP leader asked.

Patra said the Supreme Court had called for holding free and fair elections in West Bengal with the deployment of central forces.

But the state government did not deploy central forces properly, he claimed, adding, Data on sensitive polling booths were not shared with the central forces. He claimed that a large number of people have fled West Bengal out of fear and have taken shelter in Assam.

"Is this democracy Mamata ji?" the BJP leader asked.

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