Medinipur blast brings back Bengal poll violence horror, Mamata under attack

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By: Joymala Bagchi | Kolkata
Updated: 04 December, 2022 4:33 pm IST
CM Mamata Barnerjee's government wants to win elections in West Bengal by any means, opposition BJP has alleged.

The deadly blast that killed three people in Purba Medinipur district has unmasked the violent facet of elections in West Bengal just before the scheduled polls for panchayat bodies, drawing widespread criticism to state strongwoman Mamata Banerjee’s rule.

TMC block president Raj Kumar Manna, his brother Dev Kumar Manna along with another person were killed in a blast at his residence in Bhupatinagar – barely 30 kms away from a place where party national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was scheduled to address a public rally.

In view of the panchayat elections, the Bengal police have launched a combing operation and recovered country-made crude bombs at several places.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP has demanded an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and requested Union home minister Amit Shah to take cognisance of the incident.

The BJP has said that crude bombs are being prepared at properties of TMC leaders. “There is a total absence of law and order in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress is no longer a political party. Election is a compulsion for TMC, not choice,” BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya told The New Indian.

Citing the huge scale of violence during the 2018 panchayat elections, Bhattacharya said the TMC does not believe in democratic values and wants to win elections by any means.

Senior CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty accused CM Mamata Banerjee of protecting criminals for political gains. “Criminals and land grabbers have been inducted into the TMC. When criminals become leaders of the ruling party and enjoy police support, the sole motive of their leadership will be to acquire wealth illegally.”

However, ruling TMC has hit back at the BJP, alleging its role in such blasts. TMC MP Dr. Shantanu Sen said: “It was a plan and ploy to hurl bomb on Abhishek Banerjee to disrupt his rally,” he added.

“The state government would not have instructed police to launch a special campaign to recover illegal arms. It means the government intends to conduct free and fair elections. On the contrary, BJP has resorted to hooliganism because they have been rejected by people,” Sen further said.

The panchayat election will be held in the state early next year.

Meanwhile, Banerjee on Saturday claimed the Trinamool Congress will sweep the upcoming panchayat elections. “We showed the BJP their actual position in the last assembly elections. The BJP will meet the same fate in the panchayat as well as the next general elections,” he said.

“The media keeps calling Medinipur ‘Adhikari bastion’. How is it your bastion if you have lost 9 out of 16 seats? The story is the same for civic body elections. This is a TMC bastion,” he added.

Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who used to solely handle TMC affairs in Medinipur before switching to the BJP, defeated chief minister Mamata Banerjee in the last assembly elections.

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