People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 23

June 09, 2013


Panchayat Elections: Resolute Fight against Terror


From Our Special Correspondent in Kolkata


THE battle for panchayat in West Bengal is taking place has started under dark shadow of terror.


On the one hand, the state government has continuously violated the constitutional responsibilities, forcing a legal battle with the State Election Commission. The long drawn confrontation between the state administration and the commission resulted in an intervention by Calcutta High Court which gave instructions to enforce security in the elections. The High Court has repeatedly asked the state administration to provide for required security forces. On the other hand, ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) has unleashed a vicious attack on the Left Front candidates during the filing of nomination papers in most of the districts.


The method of terrorisation is planned and organised. In many places, BDO offices have been cordoned by the armed TMC gangs. They were physically obstructing the Left Front candidates from collecting and filing nominations. In many places armed attacks have been launched.


Serious incidents of attacks have taken place in West Midnapore, Burdwan, Hooghly, parts of South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Nadia. In West Midnapore, Ghatal, Chandrakona 1, 2, Shalboni, Medinipur Sadar, Kharagpur Gramin, Pingla Mohanpur and Khirpai witnessed Trinamul violence where in most cases Trinamul hooligans unleashed armed attacks on BDO offices while the police remained silent spectators as usual. In Garbeta, Keshpur and large parts of Jangalmahal, villagers were threatened with dire consequences if any of them dared to contest as a Left candidate.


In Hooghly, terror reigns at least in nine blocks like Arambagh, Khanakul, Tarekswar, Goghat, Haripal. In most of them, Left Front candidates have not been able to file nomination openly. In Haripal, the processions with candidates were attacked in front of BDO office. TMC hooligans, in this case, launched joint attacks with the police.


In Burdwan, apart from resisting the filing of nominations, candidates were attacked in localities. In many instances, their certificates, voter cards and other documents were looted. 


However, determined activists of the Left have braved this wave of terror and filed nominations for first two phases in most of the areas. In places like Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas, Memari in Burdwan, and Haroa in North 24 Parganas, local people joined in the resistance to TMC hooligans. Left Front has filed nominations in places like Lalgarh and Jhargram with red flag processions.


Not just the Left Front, no party is allowed to file nominations in Midnapore East district and Nandigram in particular, as TMC MP, Shubhendu Adhikari, has declared a closure for other forces. Nandigram, Khejuri, Contai, and vast areas of the district are witnessing severe attacks on Left workers and leaders, particularly on women candidates.


In a bizarre incident, television channels showed video footages of TMC leaders openly instructing their activists to resist the Left nominees from filing nominations. In a party meeting held at Rampurhat, Birbhum on June 2, president of the TMC district committee, Anubrata Mandal, openly told the party cadres that “since June 3, the process of filing of nomination will start in the district. Both the CPI(M) and the Congress are our enemies. Do not allow anybody from the CPI(M) or the Congress to file nominations for the panchayat elections.” The open call of the ruling party for violating all democratic norms and use violence to deter the opposition parties from filing nominations is unprecedented. The State Election Commission has sought a report of that speech which has been widely reported in media.


The CPI(M)’s West Bengal state committee has alleged that Left Front candidates were not allowed to file nominations in many places. Severe terror attacks are taking place in the state almost regularly. However, Left Front activists have courageously fought against all odds, the party said.


After the state committee meeting for reviewing the preparations of panchayat elections, the CPI(M) has called for an intensification of the campaign to defend the democratic rights of the people and to expose the ruling party’s nefarious designs to destroy the three tier panchayat system in Bengal. The CPI(M) has called for a resolute battle in difficult conditions.