Condemning the violence and deaths in the ongoing panchayat polls, Congress leader Manas Bhuiyan on Monday lashed out at the West Bengal government for acts of "absolute vandalism" and not adhering to norms laid down by the Supreme Court and the state election commission (SEC).
"Three people died in the second phase. During nomination, 12 were killed, something that never happened during the last seven panchayat polls. Several thousands have been injured and affected in this panchayat poll. There has been violence in Hooghly, Dhanekhali. Nandigram is silent as a grave. We have not seen this before," Bhuiyan said.
About 12,869 panchayat seats were up for the grabs in Hooghly, East Midnapore and Burdwan districts where 28,342 candidates were in the fray in the second phase of the polls on Monday.
Branding the rule-breaking by the ruling Trinamool Congress during the second phase as a "jolt" to the constitution, the SEC and the apex court, Bhuiyan "strongly condemned" the disobedience of the SEC's norms, including non-deployment of central security forces in several areas.
"In the first phase of polls which were conducted in Maoist heartland (west Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura), forces were deployed only in a few places. I can personally vouch that in most areas, the central security forces were stationed at the central offices, wide roads and barracks," said Bhuiyan.
"Today also was no exception. The areas which are sensitive and extra-sensitive saw no deployment of forces. Central forces are not being used," he said.
Bhuiyan questioned the non-compliance of rules by the state government.
"The explanation that was given by the district administration is that the court has directed that armed forces be deployed and in that sense they are using Kolkata police, state armed force and district armed force," he said, questioning the state government as to why it was not acting in compliance with the court's directive.
Bhuiyan also alleged the state government has been silently ordering the district administration not to follow rules.
"We are suspecting that an unwritten order is being passed down to the district administration by the higher levels in the state government to not follow orders," he said.
"It is very unfortunate that ruling party's representatives are using sentences and words indecently so that those in the lower strata can be incited to indulge in rule breaking. This is absolute vandalism and defiance of the constitution. This is very unfortunate, very unprecedented and unnatural," he said.