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“Gross violation of law… women living in fear”: BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad after meeting WB governor

Kolkata: A five-member fact finding team of the BJP, led by former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, which is currently visiting West Bengal to inquire into the violence that erupted during the July 8 panchayat elections, and, thereater, on counting day, on Thursday met with Governor CV Anand Bose.
Addressing media persons otuside Raj Bhavan after calling on the Governor, Prasad said, There was gross violation of law (in the conduct of the panchayat polls)." The former Union minister said the delegation visited several violence-affected areas on Wednesday "took note of few things".
"We went inside the house of few Mandal candidates, who were attacked. We met a 13-year-old boy, who had sustained a deep cut. Women are living in fear and CCTV cameras have been damaged," he added.
He alleged further that the house of a daily wager, who had to leave home and move to Tamil Nadu in search of a livelihood, was also attacked during the poll violence.
"He had saved up money to build his own house. His only fault was that he had put up a portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi inside his house. His television set was damaged. He had to run away from the state, fearing for his life and livelihood," Prasad said, adding, "His mother broke down on seeing us."
"Further, during our inquiry, we learned that the police did not show urgency to agaisnt the perpetrators of the poll-related violence. We checked with all the victims if they had lodged a complaint with the law enforcers. They said they did but the police took no action," the veteran BJP leader said.
"We met the governor and sought police action in the matter. What happened is unfortunate and deeply regrettable. It's over to the governor now," the former Union minister added.
On Tuesday, the BJP constituted a five-member fact-finding committee to inquire into the violence on the polling and counting days.
The polling day was not only marred by widespread violence but there were also multiple reports of looting of ballot papers, boxes and rigging.
There were reports of assault on the presiding officers from several districts such as Murshidabad, Cooch Behar, Malda, South 24 Parganas, North Dinajpur and Nadia.
Reports also trickled in of ballot boxes being set on fire and clashes breaking out between the parties in fray across different locations.
Amid allegations of glaring lapses in the conduct of polls and of booth capturing and ballot loot, the State Election Commission announced the re-pollling in over 600 booths on July 10.
The violence scarred polls saw the ruling Trinamool Congress secure a decisive, though disputed, 28,985 seats, with the BJP a distant second at 7,764 seats and the Congress third at 2,022 seats.
The TMC was leading in a further 1,540 panchayat seats while the BJP was leading on 417, according to the State Election Commission (SEC) as of 10.30 pm on Tuesday.
In 2018, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) won 34 per cent of the seats uncontested. The polls, then, were also marred by widespread violence and bloodshed. (ANI)

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