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Why Have West Bengal Panchayat Polls Turned Violent, Here’s What You Need To Know

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Violent clashes have erupted in various parts of West Bengal following the announcement of the date for Panchayat polls on June 9 by the state government. The ongoing clashes pose a significant threat to the safety and security of the residents. 

In response to these incidents, the Calcutta High Court issued an order on Thursday, July 6, calling for the deployment of Central forces throughout the state. This decision aims to maintain peace and protect the well-being of the people, as well as safeguard the elected Panchayat members. The court’s directive includes a 10-day period of Central force deployment, which is set to begin after the declaration of the election results on July 11. 

West Bengal Violence: 2 Killed, 3 Injured in Kolkata's Bhatpara; Mamata  Banerjee Calls For Emergency Meeting | 📰 LatestLY

Source: Latestly

Here is an explainer that helps in understanding the violent outbursts in West Bengal Panchayat Elections


2 more killed in clashes, Bengal on the edge | India News - Times of India

Source: Times of India

Where in West Bengal is the current situation aroused?  

During the commencement of polling, the incidents occurred in different districts of West Bengal. In Nadia, Murshidabad, and Malda, three TMC workers were allegedly killed in separate incidents. Additionally, a BJP polling agent was reportedly killed in Cooch Behar. A Congress supporter was reportedly killed in Nowda, Murshidabad while on his way to cast his vote.

Moreover, news agency PTI shared a distressing report of two children being injured in a blast in South 24 Parganas district on Saturday. Officials stated that the incident occurred when the victims mistakenly picked up a crude bomb, thinking it was a ball from the roadside.

Bengal panchayat polls: Fresh violence erupts as repolling underway in 696  booths - India Today

Source: India Today

Details of the election

In West Bengal, there are a total of 63,283 panchayat seats available across the gram panchayats. These seats represent the positions to be filled through the electoral process. To facilitate the village panchayat elections, the state has established 58,594 election centers across different areas.

West Bengal panchayat polls: 18 killed across state in clashes, MHA seeks  report from government


What is the reason behind the violence?  

The Opposition has boldly opposed the declaration, citing concerns that 60,000 candidates lacked sufficient time to file their nominations. As a result, the situation further deteriorated, leading to outbreaks of violence in various locations throughout the state. 

Spate of violence rocks West Bengal ahead of panchayat elections - Frontline

source: Frontline – The Hindu

Why are the Panchayat polls crucial? 

Several TMC leaders have been arrested in connection with various cases, including the SSC scam, coal smuggling, and cattle smuggling. Additionally, the CBI has initiated an investigation into allegations of a municipal recruitment scam. Abhishek Banerjee, a prominent TMC leader, is currently under scrutiny by the CBI regarding the coal pilferage case and the SSC scam. These corruption allegations have shaken the political landscape of West Bengal, tarnishing the image of the ruling party.

In April, the Rajbanshi community, which holds significant political influence, organized a protest rally following the tragic death of a 17-year-old girl who was allegedly raped. This incident further fueled public outrage and added to the mounting challenges faced by the TMC administration.


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