KOLKATA: Sporadic incidents of explosions at different parts of West Bengal in the past few months have raised a question whether the state will witness blood bath in the upcoming panchayat elections. Blasts at places where explosives were stockpiles have already claimed a total of 16 lives, including three minors, in the past five months. This year, there were 10 explosions at the crude bomb manufacturing units in the state, right from a house in a village to a makeshift structure in a paddy field.
Opposition parties alleged the rural election will witness re-run of violence the state’s electorates experienced in the 2018 panchayat elections. “The explosions took place when either crude bombs were being manufactured or fire caught the stockpile of explosives accidentally. In some of the cases, many children were injured when they hit bombs thinking it was a ball,” said a police officer.
Nine people, including a student of Class X, were killed in a major explosion on May 16, were killed. “During the course of investigation, the sleuths of the criminal investigation department found Krishnapada Bag alias Bhanu had set up a bomb-manufacturing unit on his property where his family members used to go frequently,” said a senior police officer.
Sensing discontent among the people in Egra, who supported the TMC in the 2021 Assembly elections, CM Mamata Banerjee decided to visit the area on Saturday. “The chief minister may announce help for the families of the deceased,” said an official.
The Opposition parties alleged the recent incidents of explosions are clear evidence that the ruling party is gearing up for violence. “There will be number of intra-party clashes in the TMC over getting candidature tickets,” said CPI(M)’s central committee member Sujan Chakrabarty.