Ahead of the July 27 panchayat elections in Tripura, at least 50 political leaders and workers of the ruling BJP, CPI-M and Congress were injured in various clashes and attacks in the past 48 hours in at least 10 places across the state, the police said on Monday.
Violent clashes, accusations, and counter-accusations between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition parties -- Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Congress -- marred the electioneering weeks before the three-tier gram panchayat polls in Tripura.
"At least 50 leaders and workers of the BJP, CPI-M, and Congress were injured in the past 48 hours in dozens of clashes and attacks in at least 10 places across the state. Some of the injured persons belonging to rival political parties were admitted to hospitals. No one has been arrested so far," a police officer said.
The pre-poll violence and clashes took place in South Tripura, West Tripura, Khowai and North Tripura districts.
Leaders of the CPI-M-led Left Front and the Congress separately alleged that "due to the large scale terrorisation and intimidation by BJP workers, there is absolutely no conducive situation to hold the panchayat polls."
They also alleged that the BJP workers were intimidating their candidates with dire consequences if they contested the panchayat elections.
"The police and the state Election Commission remained inactive in dealing with the violent situation in the state," the leaders told the media.
CPI-M state Secretary and the party's central committee member Gautam Das said that they had complained to the state Election Commission that some of the returning officers were also acting in BJP's favour and were not even accepting the valid nomination papers of the Left candidates.
"As the BJP has already detached itself from the people due to its 15 months of mis-governance, it is now banking on hooligans and criminals to keep the opposition parties out of the electoral contest. The ruling BJP is making a mockery of the election process for the local bodies in Tripura," Congress leader Tapas Dey told the media.
Rubbishing the accusations, BJP leaders claimed that the opposition parties were not getting anyone to field as their candidates.
"Both the CPI-M and the Congress are not ready to fight the panchayat elections fearing their inevitable defeat. That's why they are making unfounded and fake allegations against the BJP," party spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said.
The panchayat elections will be held on July 27 in 6,646 seats of 591 gram panchayats, 35 panchayat samitis and eight zilla parishads. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is July 11. Counting of votes will take place on July 31.
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