Two groups of Trinamul Congress supporters clashed in Malda district on Friday over the constitution of “sthayee samitis” or standing committees at the Gazole panchayat samiti.
Police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse members of both the factions. At least five persons were injured and one of them is under treatment at Malda Medical College and Hospital.
The Gazole panchayat samiti has 45 seats, of which 24 were won by Trinamul. The BJP bagged 18 seats and the Left-Congress alliance’s tally was two. One Independent also won.
Mozammel Hossain of Trinamul was elected as the sabhapati of the panchayat samiti.
On Friday, the “sthayee samitis” or the standing committees for different departments were scheduled to be formed.
According to the panchayat rule, along with 45 elected members of the panchayat samiti, 15 pradhans of panchayats which are under the panchayat samiti, three zilla parishad members who have been elected from Gazole block, and the local MLA and the MP are also members of the sthayee samitis and could vote to form these committees.
Around 10am, Trinamul supporters of two factions started gathering near the BDO office at Tulsidanga of Gazole.
Soon, an altercation ensued over the selection of members of the sthayee samitis and eventually, it culminated in a clash.
Both the sides rained fist cuffs on each other and indulged in an attack with bricks and sticks.
The police personnel present there used batons to disperse the warring groups.
The formation of the committees was delayed because of the clash. Later, the members assembled to initiate the process which, sources said, continued till late in the evening.
Dinesh Tudu, the Trinamul president of Gazole block, blamed workers of Jai Hind Bahini — a frontal organisation of the party — for fomenting tension.
“Vishal Saha, the block president of this organisation, instigated some party workers which led to the situation. The police are taking appropriate steps. The party will also conduct an inquiry and take
stern steps against him,” said Tudu.
Saha, however, rejected the allegations. “We went there as one of our elected panchayat members was harassed by some miscreants. At that time, some people attacked us,” he said.
The incident has made the BJP scoff at Trinamul.
“The infighting proves that leaders of different lobbies of Trinamul are desperate to gain control over rural bodies. The only intention is to siphon money which is sanctioned to these rural bodies for peoples’ development,” said Amlan Bhaduri, a BJP leader in Malda.