The nomination process for the July 8 panchayat polls kicked off on a violent note on Friday with Congress worker Fulchand Sheikh being shot dead allegedly by Trinamul activists at Khargram in Murshidabad. On Saturday, the process was far from peaceful with news of clashes between the ruling party and the Opposition pouring in from across Bengal. Around 9,000 nominations have been filed on the first two days. The Telegraph lists a few of the incidents of clashes on Saturday.
A group of Trinamul workers allegedly attacked CPM and Congress supporters when they reached the Domkal BDO’s office to file their nominations. The Opposition candidates and their supporters initially stepped back but in less than an hour both CPM and Congress workers returned with around 1,000 supporters.
The combined force of the CPM and the Congress attacked Trinamul activists with bamboo sticks, forcing them out of the BDO’s office premises. After clearing the area of Trinamul supporters, CPM and Congress candidates filed their nominations. CPM candidate Siraj Mollah suffered injury in the attack. “The police are hand in glove with Trinamul and tried to obstruct our nomination process,” Siraj said.
The attack and counter-attack took place in front of the police, who seemed outnumbered. A probable violent situation was averted as a cop saw a country-made pistol tucked in the pocket of local Trinamul leader Bashir Mollah and snatched it from him. Bashir, who is the Trinamul president of the Sarangpur, was arrested along with 15 others. Bashir has been booked under the Arms Act, a senior police officer said.
District Trinamul chief Shawni Sinharoy said she was aware of the incident but did not know which political parties were involved in the clash.
Bhangar/ Kakdwip, South 24-Parganas
Violence in Bhangar left an unusual victim — an official of the South 24-Parganas’ district administration. The official, Bidyut Ghosh, was allegedly assaulted by Trinamul activists because he had issued nomination forms to ISF members. The incident took place inside the Bangar-II block development office.
Sources said Ghosh, an official of the election wing at the block office, was thrashed by Trinamul leader Razzak Molla in the presence of the party’s Canning East MLA, Saukat Molla, because he had issued nomination forms to ISF leader Saim Qadir.
Sources said Razzak, a close aide of Trinamul strongman Arabul Islam, also threatened other officials of the block office and told them not to issue any nomination form without the consent of the local Trinamul leadership.
“They kicked me and punched me in the face. My spectacles broke. I have informed the higher-ups in the district administration,” Ghosh said.
BDO Kartick Roy confirmed the incident, but claimed that the identity of the attackers could not be “ascertained”. Trinamul MLA Molla claimed ignorance, but said action would be taken against the accused if the allegation was true.
In Kakdwip, a BJP mandal president claimed he had received death threats and his party colleagues had been asked not to contest against Trinamul. The BJP’s media cell shared a poster received by local leader Meghnad Deb Sharma, who has been warned not to file nomination, else he would be beheaded.
Singhi/ Labhpur, Birbhum
Two Trinamul factions clashed with each other at Singhi over differences on who should be allotted the party’s symbol to contest the July 8 polls. According to sources, one of the groups is loyal to jailed district Trinamul chief Anubrata Mandal, while the other faction is led by his rival Kajal Sheikh. A large team of the district police reached the spot and arrested two Trinamul workers.
In Labhpur, 40 BJP workers were allegedly manhandled and beaten up by a group of around 100 armed Trinamul supporters. A BJP candidate had to be rushed to the Bolpur sub-divisional hospital with a fractured right leg. Trinamul’s Labhpur MLA Abhijit Sinha claimed that the BJP was trying to divert attention from its organisational lapses by making such baseless allegations.
Barabani, West Burdwan
Trinamul goons allegedly attacked CPM activists when they went to file their nominations at the BDO’s office. Local Trinamul leader Madhab Tiwari denied the allegations. He said the CPM did not have people’s support and was levelling false allegations to win sympathy.