ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Violence Reigns Supreme

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The panchayat elections held in West Bengal on 14 May 2018 were associated with many unfortunate incidents, which resulted in all the major opposition parties having to approach the Calcutta High Court for different issues prior to the election. In the absence of a strong state election commission, it was the court that delivered a slew of positive directives. For instance, the high court ordered the West Bengal state election commission to accept the nominations of nine candidates through WhatsApp, after they were physically restrained from completing the paperwork.

As per one leading Bengali daily, 21 persons have lost their lives in poll-related violence, and several polling agents were beaten. In many places opposition candidates could not submit their nominations, ballot boxes were thrown out of the polling stations, etc. In one village of Panskura, in East Medinipur district of West Bengal, local women, armed with sticks, were forced to come out and counter the goons. Television channels broadcasted footage of one candidate in the Cooch Behar district entering a polling station and instructing voters to vote for his party. Even 16 May 2018, the day of the repolls, was marred by violence. The police were rendered helpless, as in all polling stations, only a marginal number of police personnel was deployed. Furthermore, why was the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) not engaged? In the conduct of these elections, the administration has failed miserably.

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Updated On : 18th May, 2018

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