West Bengal Panchayat elections: Congress slams TMC over poll violence, wants Centre to impose Article 356 to save democracy

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New Delhi | Published: April 24, 2018 3:46:34 PM

The Congress party on Tuesday demanded imposition of President's rule in the state. The move comes following the conflicts between the ruling and the opposition parties during the process of filing nominations for the upcoming elections.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday said that the imposition of Article 356 is need of the hour. (Image: ANI)

Amid reports of several incidents of poll-related violence in the upcoming Panchayat elections in West Bengal, the Congress party on Tuesday demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state. The move comes following the conflicts between the ruling and the opposition parties during the process of filing nominations for the upcoming elections.

Speaking to news agency ANI over violence in the state, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury today said that the imposition of Article 356 is need of the hour. “I demand President’s Rule in West Bengal. Without imposing President’s rule, no one will be able to exercise their democratic right. This is the need of the hour,” Chowdhury told ANI.

Chowdhury also claimed that he has urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the imposition of Article 356 as there is no democracy in the state. Speaking to DNA, Chowdhury said, “I have written to Rajnath Singh about it (about President’s rule) without which there can be no democracy in Bengal.”

On Monday, a fresh spate of violence was reported from Birbhum and Asansol after an independent candidate was allegedly attacked in front of the BDO office while he was filing nomination. The ruling Trinamool Congress has denied any involvement in the attack. As per the news agency ANI, one person was reported to have died in a clash between TMC and BJP supporters in Siuri’s Block No. 1 in Birbhum.

According to ANI, the BJP has claimed that several of its workers were injured in the clash on Monday. Later, the party also filed a complaint in this regard. Incidents of poll-related violence was also reported from Murshidabad, Malda and South 24 Parganas districts. Around six policemen were injured when the BJP and TMC workers engaged in a conflict that broke out at South 24 Parganas’s Usti area over the filing of nominations on April 9.

Last week, the Calcutta High Court had asked the State Election commission to extend the date of filing nominations for the Panchayat polls. On Saturday, the state poll body issued a notification stating April 23 (Monday) as the new date for submitting nominations to the three-tier panchayat elections.

The new dates for the election are yet to be announced by the State Election Commission. Earlier, the panchayat polls in the state were scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and 5 while the counting of votes was to be held on May 8.

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