In the backdrop of incidents of violence ahead of the Panchayat polls in West Bengal, Governor C.V. Ananda Bose on Thursday (June 29) sent out a strong message to the State administration, saying the “death knell of democracy” should not ring in the hands of its custodian.
Mr. Bose, who held a meeting with representatives of several parties, at the Siliguri circuit house here, described the current situation in the poll-bound State as “very very disturbing”.
“The death knell of democracy must not ring in the hands of its custodian. We must take care of that,” Mr. Bose said at the circuit house in Siliguri.
The Governor said he would continue visiting the areas witnessing violence to have first-hand knowledge of what is happening.
“What is happening in the field is very very disturbing. That is what the court has reflected in its various pronouncements and observations. We will certainly see that the present trend is reversed and there is peace and harmony in society.
“Every citizen will be able to cast his vote freely and fearlessly — that is a commitment and we are trying to take it forward. I am going to the field. I like to have a feel of the field,” he added.
Mr. Bose, who is on a short trip to the northern districts of the State, said “I am the ground zero governor. I went to different places for my satisfaction. I spoke to the victims”.
Widespread violence over the filing of nominations for the rural polls has left at least eight people dead and several injured in various parts of the State in the past two weeks.
Governor office sources said that at the meeting, the Opposition voiced concern over the inability of several candidates to file nominations in the face of threats and intimidation allegedly by workers and supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
Nomination for the July 8 panchayat polls in the State ended on June 15.
They demanded that deployment of the central forces be continued even six weeks after the counting of votes on July 11, fearing post-poll violence.
At the meeting, a delegation of BJP alliance partners from the Darjeeling region, led by BJP MP Raju Bista, was present.
BJP MLA of Darjeeling, Neeraj Zimba, and Pratap Khati of ABGL were present.
Bimal Gurung and Hamro Party chief Ajoy Edwards, however, were not present at the meeting, sources said.