Bengal and its history of election violence

As feared, the election in West Bengal is turning violent. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was attacked on Wednesday while in Nandigram, where she had gone to file her nomination for the coming elections.

Visuals from the spot showed security guards lifting and placing her on the backseat of a car. The 66-year-old was taken to a hospital later. The chief minister alleged that there were no policemen to save her and the attack came a day after the Election Commission replaced the director general of West Bengal Police, amid concerns of violence voiced the loudest by the BJP.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a report on the incident.

West Bengal has a history of violence during elections and it is believed that the situation is going to be no different this time. There are genuine fears of large-scale violence, especially from the supporters of TMC and BJP. Both the parties are desperately vying for power in the state.

In such a situation, it is the lower level workers who pay maximum price of election-related violence.

The physical attack on the chief minister shows that the situation is getting out of control. If a chief minister can be attacked like this, what will be the condition of ordinary citizens?

The ECI will have to step in. The ECI is often alleged to favour the ruling government at the centre.

Now the time has come for the ECI to exhibit its true prowess and conduct a peaceful election in Bengal, unless it wants to lose its credibility.