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Sporadic Violence Ahead Of Panchayat Polls Gives Trinamool Congress Jitters

With months to go for the Panchayat Election 2023, reports of back-to-back violence, crude bomb blasts, recovery of firearms and live bombs are being reported in some districts of West Bengal. Some of the districts of South Bengal — Birbhum, North and South 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, and Junglemahal areas have seen recent cases of political violence with bomb blasts killing three minors and injuring several people including children in separate incidents. Both Didi and second in command of the party, her nephew Abhishek Banerjee have been categorical to keep away from violence after the party suffered brutal electoral losses in last Lok Sabha polls due to political violence that took place during Panchayat Election 2018. Incidentally, both Bengal Police and Bengal Special Task Force (STF) have arrested a number of people having allegiance to the ruling party for being involved in the blasts and clashes. This has largely prompted Oppositions to claim that Bengal is “on a bed of bombs and arms”. However, senior cabinet minister Firhad Hakim countered stating the Union Government has eased inter-state border vigilance so that arms could be smuggled into the state to create anarchy. According to political analysts, the panchayats of Bengal have emerged as the epicenter of political violence as they provide critical opening for the parties to strengthen their hold over nearly every aspect of rural society besides the dominance and political influence to the grassroots.