Though the polling process in West Bengal is not even half way through, political clashes in the state have already claimed 24 lives. Of the 24 killed, 12 were Trinamool Congress workers, while only five were CPM cadres.
Among the dead were also three Congress workers, sources in the government told ET on Tuesday. The casualty figures indicate that the Trinamool Congress cadres have been at the receiving end of political violence unleashed by the rival camp. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee has been alleging atrocities on her party workers by the CPM “goons” and had even prevailed upon Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram to intervene in January this year and tell West Bengal chief minister to rein in the “harmads.”
Though the CPM strongly objected to the Home Minsiter’s “nasty” description of its cadres as ‘harmads’, the state Government appears to have done little to control political violence that has been on an upswing in view of the Assembly poll.
Even at a rally in Midnapore on Monday, Chidambaram raised the Netai incident, where firing from within a CPM-patronised armoury in January had killed seven villagers and injured 20 others, to stress on the state Government’s failure to check political violence.
Out on his first poll campaign in West Bengal, Chidambaram turned on the heat against Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee , accusing him of taking no action against CPM ‘harmads’ when he had been warned about them.
“Before the (Netai) incident I had told him many times and sent letters that members of the chief minister’s own party were moving with arms and setting up camps. I told him I had information about the location of the camps, the leaders who were in the camps and in which houses these camps are located. He said nobody from his party was doing it,” Chidambaram alleged.
He used this example, and the state’s financial crisis, to argue his point that West Bengal was the worst-governed state in the country. Economic Times