People's Democracy

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


No. 25

June 23, 2013





Mayhem in Panchayat Elections


From Our Special Correspondent in Kolkata


AS this report goes to press, the fate of panchayat elections in West Bengal is hanging in absolute uncertainty. The continuing refusal of the state administration to clarify the security arrangements, incessant requests of state election commission in this regard, coupled with widespread terrorisation by the ruling party have created an unprecedented situation in the state.  Panchayat elections have been held seven times during the period of Left Front government, but the state has not experienced such a catastrophe. 


Left Front has alleged that the state government had either planned to jeopardise the elections or making it a farce. Left Front has submitted memorandums to the governor and state election commission demanding peaceful, fair elections to panchayats, which was the bedrock of local democracy in the state.


The state Left Front submitted a deputation to the governor seeking his active intervention to ensure security in the coming panchayat election. The delegation led by the Left Front Chairman Biman Basu on June 17 visited Governor M K Narayanan and sought his intervention to ensure enough security force to combat the state sponsored miscreants in almost all districts. The deputation also mentioned that without enough security arrangement the election would turn into a farce.


Biman Basu informed that Left Front has submitted a report containing information about more than fifteen hundred such violent incidents. The deputation mentioned in detail the increase of rape and extortion against women and students apart from mundane incidents of loot, extortion, snatching in the state. The Left Front has lost six leaders and workers just between the period June 3-14. More than 6000 Left Front candidates could not submit their nominations.


Biman Basu explaining the situation said panchayat election is an election for establishing democracy at the grass root level of the society. But the situation is such that the state government does not obey Court decisions, is also not co-operating with the state election commission at all.


On the other hand, a sit-in demonstration in front of state election commission office was organised. Left Front leaders questioned the utility of commissionís repeated assurance of holding elections peacefully. Left Front leaders demanded that those who could not file their nominations owing to attacks and threats of the ruling party should be given extended time to do so. They demanded an immediate halt to violent attacks on the candidates and their families throughout the state.


Meanwhile, the bike-borne miscreants of Trinamool Congress are on the rampage in almost all districts. They are attacking the houses of Left Front candidates, in some cases entire villages to thwart any contest. In a gruesome attack, a well known social worker, Bhaskar Majumdar was killed by the TMC gang in Metegram in Birbhum district. Ruling party goons attacked the village with bombs, burnt down houses, molested women and finally shot dead Majumdar who sheltered CPI(M) activists in his house. In Sitalkuchi in Coochbehar, miscreants set fire to the house of a CPI(M) candidate and his entire family, trying to burn them alive. They were rescued in the nick of the time. In Pingla in West Midnapore, the house of Antara Bhattacharya, present chairperson of zilla parishad and a candidate in the coming elections too was attacked and ransacked. The houses of adivasi villagers were attacked in the same village. These are only a few instances of violent attacks on opposition. Hundreds of Left Front candidates have been forced to leave their villages after daring to file their nominations.