Aug. 18: Trinamul has been accused of orchestrating abductions of several elected members of other parties, including women, in North Dinajpur to form gram panchayat boards in rural bodies where it did not have the majority.
The CPM has alleged that seven elected members, including four women, in the Durgapur and Kapasia gram panchayats in Itahar were abducted so that the Trinamul could form the boards in the absence of members of the Left during voting. The CPM has also accused Trinamul of grabbing the posts of pradhan and deputy pradhan.
District police chief Akhilesh Chaturvedi said tonight that the women had been located. “We have located the women and the children. We are not going to disclose where they are now,” he said.
District magistrate P.N. Bhutia said the final decision on the election of the pradhans and the deputy pradhans would be taken based on the reports of the presiding officers.
“Elections to the posts of pradhan and deputy pradhan can be done only when a minimum of one-thirds of the elected members are present and voting,” Bhutia said.
If the district magistrate finds anomalies in voting to form boards, he can report the matter to the panchayat department, which has the power to order re-voting.
The CPM has accused Trinamul of abducting victorious candidates to secure control of the Ramganj I and Panditpota gram panchayats in Islampur, too.
The CPM lodged an FIR mentioning that armed Trinamul men stormed into a school in the Durgapur gram panchayat area early today and abducted five women, including the four elected members. Three babies who were with the women were also allegedly kidnapped.
CPM leader Biswajit Saha said the women had been kept guarded in the school so that they could take part in the voting.
“Of the 19 seats, the Left Front has won 10, Trinamul eight and the Congress one. We were confident of forming the board today. We had anticipated foul play by Trinamul and had decided to keep our members in the school (100 metres from the panchayat office) last night and guard them. Fifty cadres were guarding the members last night,” Saha said.
“We had finished dinner around 11 last night and the elected members had gone to sleep when armed Trinamul members barged into the school compound. Around 25 to 30 men broke open the gates and hurled bombs. They dragged the women out along with their babies, forced them into two SUVs and fled. They fired so that no one dared to give chase,” he added.
District CPM secretary Bireswar Lahiri said the Trinamul activists “attacked” Left members of the Kapasia gram panchayat today. “Our candidates were on their way to the panchayat office to form the board when bombs were hurled at their car. When the car stopped, three of our panchayat members were abducted,” he said.
CPM district secretariat member Subir Biswas alleged two Left members and two Congress members of the Panditpota panchayat were kidnapped yesterday. He said one CPM member had been released.
Trinamul denied the charge of abduction. District party president and Itahar MLA Mala Acharjee said: “Trinamul is not involved in any kidnapping. The abductions are the fallout of CPM factional rivalry.”
The CPM in Birbhum’s Mayureswar accused Trinamul of preventing victorious Left candidates of the Jhikodda gram panchayat from entering the office for voting this afternoon. In the absence of opposition, Trinamul took control of the board.
Seven CPM supporters, including former sabhadhipati Dhiren Let, sustained splinter injuries.
Trinamul denied the allegation.