A section of West Bengal's civil society, which had years back strongly backed then opposition Trinamool Congress to unseat the erstwhile rulers Left Front, on Wednesday lashed out against the Trinamool for using "rampant muscle power" to prevent the opposition candidates from filing nominations for next month's Panchayat polls.
Warning that the happenings over the last few days amounted to "crippling" and "chopping off the fundamentals of democracy, eminent persons held a media conference expressing concern over what lay in store for the state during the later stages of the poll process.
"People who we helped come to power, if now they start showing the same dominating attitude, then it becomes a difficult situation for us. When a ruler tries to show its power, then not does it cause danger for the people, but even for themselves (the ruling party)," said singer Protul Mukhopadhyay.
"The ruling party should remember that they cannot remain in power for long with this dominating attitude," he said.
Another singer Pallab Kirtaniya said the opposition activists are being beaten to pulp so that they cannot file their nomination. "A minister openly has openly declared that a panchayat which has not a single opposition representative will get Rs 5 crore. Can one talk in this vein in a democracy? This is akin to chopping of the fundamentals of democracy."
Venerable theatre personality Bivas Chakraborty regretted that the miscreants seemed to be in control of the happenings during the filing of nominations. "We don't see anybody reining in them. We know that for long, West Bengal has not seen trouble-free elections. But this time, it has crossed all limits.
"If this is the situation in the nomination phase, then what will happen during polling or during the declaration of results? Will miscreants control at every stage? If such a thing happens, it will be a disgrace for us."
"By using every means, the present rulers of West Bengal are trying to make it (the panchayats) opposition-free. As a result, ruling party candidates are getting walkovers. But this is not a just victory. If elections are conducted in such a way, then I can only say democracy has been crippled," he said.
Academician Mirat-un Nahar, and rights activist Sujato Bhadra also spoke at the media meet.
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