The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has registered convincing wins in areas which saw maximum violence and allegations of rigging in the Panchayat polls last year in Bengal. So far, the BJP has registered unassailable leads in Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Raiganj, Balurghat, Asansol, Purulia, Bankura, Midnapore, Bishnupur, Ranaghat and Bongaon. It is locked in a close contest with the Trinamool Congress in Malda Uttar, Malda Dakshin, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Barrackpore, Arambagh and Jhargram.
All these areas had witnessed large scale violence, intimidation of voters, opposition candidates and functionaries, attacks on them and even murders, as well as large scale rigging of the poll process during the Panchayat polls last year. BJP candidates were not even allowed to file their nomination papers in many of these places, and many of those who did were forced to withdraw their nominations. Ultimately, in places where the rural polls could ultimately be held without the process being rigged too much, the BJP did fairly well.
The Panchayat polls were conducted by the state election commission and central forces were not deployed. “This time, since elections were conducted by the Central Election Commission and central forces were deployed extensively, the Trinamool Congress could not indulge in much foul play and rig the poll process. The results are here for all to see. Had the Panchayat polls also been free and fair, we would have swept the polls in many districts,” said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, who has taken a big lead in the Midnapore Lok Sabha constituency.