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Post poll violence takes centre-stage in Bengal

Kolkata, May 26 (IANS) Even as the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress gears up for its second successive term at the helm, West Bengal, rather infamous for bitter political rivalry, finds itself in the news for the wrong reason of widespread political violence.

While the opposition has repeatedly accused the Trinamool of pursuing “politics of terror”, the allegations against the ruling party have only multiplied since May 19 the day when the Trinamool swept back to power in the state with a massive mandate.

Claiming the attacks were being carried out with the aim to eliminate the opposition, the state units of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left Front have all have decided to boycott the swearing-in ceremony of the Banerjee government on Friday, as a mark of protest.

Since May 19 when the Trinamool bagged 211 of the 294 seats, reports of houses being torched, party offices ransacked and party activists and supporters getting brutally beaten up have been flying thick and fast from the across the state as well as the city. From the commoners to leaders, all have fallen to victim to the attacks.

While the allegation of attacks on the opposition supporters and party offices have been pretty regular from across the districts, the city too witnessed several incidents of violence occurred in the city including an attack on the house of CPI-M leader Shatarup Ghosh.

Earlier in the week, actor-turned-BJP leader Roopa Ganguly sustained a head injury after being allegedly attacked by Trinamool workers while when she was on a trip to South 24 Parganas district to meet an injured party polling agent and his family.

The attack on Roopa prompted the BJP not only to organise a protest march to Kalighat – that houses Banerjee’s residence – but its state unit chief Dilip Ghosh threatening retaliation against Trinamool lawmakers.

“Whatever the Trinamool does within the border of Bengal, we will pay them back outside Bengal,” Ghosh had said.

While the Congress had already announced its decision to boycott, Ghosh, a day ahead of the swearing-in, affirmed the state BJP will not attend the event. The Left Front too has asserted of giving the event a miss as a mark of protest.

The Left Front, which staged a two-day sit-in demonstration in the city against the continued violence, claimed that over 500 of its party offices across the state have been destroyed and countless people have been driven out of their homes by Trinamool goons.

“There have been votes in others states like Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala but it is only Bengal where the ruling party has unleashed violence to eliminate the opposition,” said Front chairman Biman Bose calling upon people to build a mass movement to counter the violence and “re-establish democracy” in the state.

The many victims of the violence include Arpita Mondal of Bagda in North 24 Parganas who suffered a miscarriage due an attack on her.

“Words fall short to condemn TMC’s barbaric attack resulting in miscarriage of a baby. Is this democracy,” said CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra.

Besides approaching the Election Commission seeking compensation for the victims of the poll violence, the Front also submitted a memorandum to city Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on the issue.

Incidentally, Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging strict enforcement law and order.

The governor’s move came in the wake of the Left, Congress and the BJP approaching him seeking his intervention.

Referring to Banerjee’s repeated threats of “settling scores with the opposition inch by inch” during the assembly polls campaign, the opposition parties have all held the Trinamool supremo responsible for the attacks.

Gearing up for its second stint at governance, the Trinamool has rubbished the oppositions’ charges.

“Those who are talking about democracy should realise that the people of Bengal have given a resounding verdict in favour of Trinamool. They should stop levelling baseless allegations against the Trinamool,” said party secretary general Partha Chatterjee.

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