BJP, CPI(M) seek president's rule; TMC leads in panchayat poll counting

TMC celebrations for Panchayat polls TMC activists celebrating their party's performance in the panchayat polls in North 24 Parganas | PTI

The West Bengal unit of the BJP has sent a recommendation to party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking president's rule in West Bengal over continuing violence related to the panchayat polls. The recommendation was sent to the Delhi office of the BJP on election day on Monday, just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the Trinamool Congress government, asking all political parties, civil society and judiciary to take note of “unprecedented violence in the state.”

Vice president of West Bengal BJP, Biswarup Roychowdhury, told THE WEEK, “Our state party president, Dilip Ghosh, has written to the national party president, seeking president's rule in Bengal. He said if president's rule could not be imposed in Bengal, then it could not be imposed anywhere. It’s a fit case for imposition of Article 356 of Indian Constitution. A copy has been sent to the prime minister.”

The demand was made in the context of the overall political situation in West Bengal, where the opposition political parties allege they are not given the chance to exercise their electoral franchise in the panchayat polls. More than 50 people have died since the electoral process had begun in the state. The looting of votes continued even on the day of counting on Thursday, alleged all opposition political parties.

The violence continued even on Thursday with Trinamool Congress workers being seen entering the counting stations and casting their votes in Majdia in Nadia and Panskura.

“In all places across Bengal even when they see that the opposition are getting few seats, they bring out ballot papers and start casting their own votes. Mandate has been looted in Bengal. Television could show a fraction of such events It’s dark days in Bengal politics,” said Roychowdhury.

The BJP has got support from unexpected quarters, with senior CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb coming out in favour of president's rule in the state.

“President's rule needs to be imposed immediately and without any delay. The Central government cannot play the role of mute spectator. What is happening in Bengal is alarming. Young generations have been handed bombs and weapons. From where did these come?” asked Deb.

The counting of ballots is continuing in more than 300 counting centres of 20 districts of West Bengal since Thursday morning.

Out of 33,000 panchayat seats for which counting is being held, TMC has won already 26,000 as of Thursday evening, with BJP a distant second with 2,300 seats. The Left and Congress together have won around 900 seats.

In the panchayat samitis, as well, the TMC has taken a lead in about 86 per cent of total seats with BJP in the second position with 11 per cent seats. Congress has mostly been drawing a blank except in Malda where it won 51 seats out of 415 seats. Surprisingly, the Congress has been decimated in its strongholds in Murshidabad, drawing a blank so far.

Counting of votes in the zila parishads is continuing as of Thursday evening and early trends show the TMC ahead in all 20 zila parishads.