TMC Rejects Allegations Of Election Violence, Claims Opposition 'Marketing Violence'

At least 13 people were killed, and several others injured in the violent clashes that broke out across West Bengal during the panchayat elections on Saturday.

Mamata Banerjee

TMC rejected allegations of election violence as a distortion of reality on Sunday a day after 13 people were killed during panchayat elections in West Bengal.

TMC countered allegations of widespread violence, asserting that out of 61,000 polling booths, only 60 reported violent incidents.

TMC leaders including Kunal Ghosh, Dr Shashi Panja, and Bratya Basu condemned the violence in a presser.

They said any death was regrettable and expressing particular sympathy for the Trinamool workers among the casualties.

They rejected allegations of election violence as a distortion of reality, claiming that opposition parties and certain media outlets were "marketing violence" to discredit the elections.

"The Opposition parties are making an effort to paint the entire election process as violent, but the credit for the largely peaceful and fair polls goes to the general public," said Ghosh said.

He added: "Most of the deaths reported are of Trinamool workers, so if Trinamool was instigating the violence, why would they target their own workers?"

Panja drew attention to the lapses of the central forces in controlling the violence, questioning their ability and motives. 

He added: "The Opposition parties demanded the deployment of central forces. But where were these forces, and why couldn't they prevent the violence? There have been instances where central forces, including the Border Security Force, were seen on camera threatening voters and asking them to vote for a specific party. This indicates that the central forces were deployed at the behest of political masters."

Border Security Force (BSF) Deputy Inspector General SS Guleria had earlier said that despite their repeated requests for information on sensitive polling booths, the West Bengal State Election Commission did not provide adequate details, hampering their ability to adequately safeguard these areas.

The Trinamool leaders also accused the Governor of West Bengal of fanning the flames of violence and abusing his power to influence people's opinions. 

Basu said, "The Governor has selectively visited victims from Opposition parties, despite the majority of deaths being Trinamool workers. Moreover, he's delivering political speeches wherever he goes. Why is a nominated person influencing people's opinion from a position of power?"