One killed in pre-poll conflict; Governor to satisfy SEC

KOLKATA: Bengal had its first casualty in the run up to the 2018 rural polls, in Malda’s Kaliachak on Tuesday, a day before state election commissioner Amarendra Singh meets Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to discuss force deployment for the polls when the governmentrun block and sub-division offices have become “unsafe” for political representatives.
Rahman (21), a Trinamool Congress supporter, was caught in a crossfire between two rival groups of the ruling party over candidate nomination. Mijanur was shot at from a close range and died on his way to a Kolkata hospital.

Birbhum’s Labhpur and Mallarpur, Bankura’s Onda, Murshidabad’s and Domkal and Hooghly’s Arambag, too, witnessed several incidents of violence. Trinamool supporters stabbed BJP’s Birbhum general secretary soon after he came out of the DM’s office. The toughs gave a bleeding Mandal a chase till he took shelter at the SDO’s office.

leader Gouri Shankar Ghosh was shoved around by Trinamool toughs at Murshidabad’s Lalbag, while his associates were beaten up in front of the block office. A BJP leader was dragged out of the SDO office at Hooghly’s Arambag and thrashed on the road.

Trinamool faced some resistance in Bankura’s Onda, where BJP men beat up local Trinamool leaders with sticks. Trinamool men were beaten up in Birbhum’s Mallarpur as well. central committee member Ram Chandra Dom pointed to the show of strength by armed Trinamool activists in Birbhum’s Labhpur to prevent opposition candidates from filing nomination papers. “Trinamool men are carrying swords in presence of the police,” the CPM leader said.

While a Left Front delegation led by CPM leader Rabin Deb called on the state election commissioner seeking his protection, a BJP delegation led by party state president Dilip Ghosh and senior leader Mukul Roy knocked on the governor’s doors. “Bengal is heading for a bloody rural poll. The governor told us that he will be talking to the state election commissioner, chief secretary and home secretary. If our candidates are chased away from block offices, Iwill ask them to come with the nomination forms to Kolkata and ask the state election commissioner to accept their nominations,” Ghosh said.

The meeting between the governor and the state election commissioner gains significance as the Constitution under Article 243K vests the power on the governor to “make available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC.”

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