BJP workers hold protest outside SEC office against Bengal rural poll violence

Kolkata: BJP supporters on Sunday staged a demonstration in front of the office of West Bengal State Election Commission here, protesting against the panchayat poll violence that left 15 people dead.

Security was beefed up around the SEC office in the city as BJP workers shouted slogans against the alleged “inability” of the commission to conduct the elections peacefully.

A delegation of the BJP’s state unit went inside the office to meet State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha, a party leader said.

A total of 73,887 seats in the state’s three-tier panchayat system went to the polls on Saturday, with 2.06 lakh candidates in the fray. A voter turnout of 66.28 per cent was recorded provisionally, officials said.

The toll in the violence during the rural polls rose to 15 after a person was found dead in South 24 Parganas, and two others succumbed to their injuries, they said.

The BJP, which blamed the state election commissioner for the poll-related deaths, shot off a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, demanding his “intervention” in restoring democracy in West Bengal.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, in the letter, had alleged that democracy has been “murdered in Bengal by the ruling TMC” as the security forces “played the role of an audience”.

The Trinamool Congress accused the opposition of orchestrating violence and criticised the central forces for their “failure” to protect the voters.