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Nandi panchayat leader shot dead

Tamluk, Feb. 4: The deputy pradhan of a Trinamul-run panchayat in Nandigram was today shot dead by unidentified assailants on a deserted stretch he took to return home from a Saraswati puja.

Trinamul leaders in East Midnapore accused the CPM of planning and executing the murder of Samar Maity, the 38-year-old upa-pradhan of Boyal II gram panchayat, about 5km from Nandigram town. The CPM has denied the allegation.

Some workers of the ruling party, however, said Maity’s murder could be the fallout of infighting.

Police said they were yet to find any witness. A one-shot pistol was recovered near the spot where Maity was shot.

“Samar Maity was on a bike. He was hit in the left eye and his back. He was taken to a local health centre and was then referred to SSKM Hospital. He died on the way,” said S.K. Jain, the district superintendent of police of East Midnapore.

According to another police officer, Maity could have laid there bleeding for hours had villagers not rushed to the deserted stretch hearing the shots.

“The road Maity took was a shortcut to his house. There are no lights or houses on the stretch. Villagers from a nearby market heard the shots and rushed to the spot. Maity was in a pool of blood. A police team reached the spot within 20 minutes and found a one-shot pistol,” the officer said.

Trinamul leaders of Nandigram accused the CPM of planning and carrying out the murder.

“Samar Maity was a good organiser in the area and played an important role in Trinamul’s campaign during last year’s panchayat polls. That is why the CPM cadres killed him before the Lok Sabha polls,” said Abu Taher, the chief of Trinamul-run Nandigram block-I panchayat samiti.

He declined comment when asked about infighting.

Last year, Trinamul won almost all the seats in the three-tier rural polls in East Midnapore. However, in the Boyal II gram panchayat, the CPM won one of the 12 seats.

Told about the allegation, CPM district secretariat member Ashok Guria said: “The CPM has nothing to do with Samar Maity’s death. Our party has virtually no presence in Nandigram.”

According to local Trinamul leaders, Maity had been looking after the party’s preparations in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.