After Nabanna Boost, Bengal BJP Gears Up for Panchayat Polls, Demands Central Security to Prevent 2018-Like Violence

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The BJP is now gearing up for the Panchayat polls in West Bengal next year after the Nabanna Abhijan protest, which has helped the party gain traction in the state, according to party insiders. Thus, the state leaders have demanded that the central force be in place ahead of the 2023 Panchayat polls to prevent incidents of violence.

The West Bengal BJP held an internal meeting on Sunday in which party’s new observer Sunil Bansal, newly appointed co-in charge of the state Asha Lakra, in charges of West Bengal BJP Mangal Pandey and Amit Malviya were present.

According to sources, the state leaders have expressed their concern for the Panchayat election. They said they will give their “best fight for the panchayat polls but the TMC will unleash violence as they did in 2018”. They said they will move court and urge the Centre to look into the matter.

Sources said most leaders have requested if the Central government could depute CRPF during the polls.

State BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar, too, supported the demand, and directed his concern that the State Election Commission is the party office of Trinamool Congress, which has a history of creating ruckus during the elections, according to sources. Therefore, the leaders have demanded the central force for the Panchayat polls.

According to norms, the security aspect of Panchayat election will be looked into by the State Election Commission.

Violence marred the 2018 West Bengal Panchayat election in which CRPF men were killed in Nandigram, voters were injured in Cooch Behar, a TMC worker was killed in South 24 Parganas, CPI(M) worker and his wife were charred to death.

In the run-up to the 2018 Panchayat polls, the BJP alleged many of its leaders could not file their nomination due to the violence. The ruling TMC engaged in war of words with the BJP, Congress and the CPI(M).

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP, thus, had a better tally with 18 seats, which was partly due to the violence in the previous 2018 Panchayat polls, according to psephologists.

In order to pre-empt the redux of the 2018 violence, the state BJP has demanded the central forces.

TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh, however, said, “They (BJP) are insane, that’s why they are asking. It’s not their prerogative at all, let them do whatever.”

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