Mamata declares compensation for panchayat deaths, slams BJP team


New Delhi: A day after sweeping the West Bengal panchayat elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the BJP for sending a fact-finding committee to examine cases of violence during the polls, calling them “provocation committees” instead.

She berated the central party for not sending such a mission to violence-wracked Manipur or even Assam during protests against the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“How many commissions visited these places? But within two years, close to 154 teams have visited West Bengal. These are BJP’s provocation committees, not fact-finding committees. It is unfortunate that so many died (during the panchayat polls). They were victims of circumstances. I have told the police to take action,” Banerjee said Wednesday.

The three-tier rural council polls were beset with political violence from the day the elections were notified.

The Trinamool emphatically won the elections, while BJP came a distant second, though gained both seats and vote share.

Banerjee also said the kin of the 19 who had died would each be given Rs 2 lakh compensation and a special home guard’s job.

“Of the 19, 10 were from the Trinamool. We will not differentiate on the basis of political allegiance,” she added.

The chief minister said of the 71,000 booths in the state where elections were held, violence was reported only from 60. “I am saddened at the loss of lives and am giving free hand to the police to take action against perpetrators,” she said.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s four-member fact-finding committee toured the state on Wednesday. Senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who headed the team, told the media: “What kind of election is held by your administration and police, Mamata Banerjee? Such incidents took place 15 to 20 years ago in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Violence has stopped even there.”

Prasad claimed that 48 people had died since polls were announced. “Even the High Court and the Supreme Court had to intervene,” Prasad said.

Last night, Mamata Banerjee in a Facebook post thanked the people for their “tremendous support and love”, adding that the results of the panchayat elections had once again proved that her party “reigned in the hearts of the Bengali people”.

Elections to the three-tier rural councils – the gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zila parishads – were held on 8 July and counting started on the 11th.

Also read: Cal HC says Bengal panchayat poll results will be subject to its final orders



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