Left constituents asked not to hold post-poll victory rallies

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Kolkata, May 20 (UNI) In a bid to avoid fratricidal clashes that already had threatened the unity among partners, the ruling Left Front government in West Bengal today asked its constituents not to organise processions to celebrate victory in the post-poll period.

Expressing deep concern over the large number of casualties during and after polling, Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Basu also appealed to all political parties, including the Opposition, to actively participate in the peace process.

'' Enough is enough. All should take care against any recurrence of violence during counting of votes and declaration of results. The Left Front requests all constituent parties to refrain from organising victory processions or rallies till the formation of Zilla Parishads, '' Mr Basu told reporters here.

At least 23 people, including a relative of Irrigation Minister and RSP leader Subhash Naskar, were killed and more than 150 injured in the poll clashes, particularly during and after the second and third phases of the election between May 14 and 18.

What came as a blow to the Front unity was the death of three supporters of the RSP, an important partner of the ruling coalition, in bloody clashes with CPI(M) activists at Basanti on May 14.

The situation worsened when the wife of the Minister's nephew was killed in an explosion in her house in the same area the next day and the RSP alleged that the attack was ''engineered'' by the CPI (M) forces.

With a total unity over seat sharing eluding the Front, the partners contested against one another in the polls in most of the seats.

A statement, issued by the Front Chairman, said any commotion anywhere must be defused and the administration should convene all-party meetings, if necessary, to maintain peace.

'' I also request the Opposition parties to take initiative to maintain peace. Leaders at all levels, workers and the followers of the political parties have to take active part in this process, '' it said.

To a question on the RSP's allegation against the CPI(M) for the Basanti violence, Mr Basu declined comments.

Earlier, RSP state secretary Debabrata Bandopadhaya accused the CPI (M) of ''engineering'' the Basanti incident.

'' Before the Panchayat elections, Mr Naskar told Mr Bhattacharjee that the situation in Basanti was volatile and warranted deployment of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central forces for conducting peaceful polls in the area. However, Mr Bhattacharjee turned a blind eye to our appeal, '' Mr Bandopadhaya told newspersons here.

He described the Basanti incident as ''shameless and unfortunate'' and alleged that six RSP activists were killed by the CPI(M) activists.

'' Had the Chief Minister given credence to our appeal for deployment of Central forces, the situation could not have assumed such an alarming proportion, '' he reiterated.

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