New Delhi: Accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal of unleashing a reign of terror during the panchayat polls on Monday, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury dismissed the TMC's remarks that violence occurred during the Left rule too, saying had it been true, Mamata Banerjee would never have come to power in the state.
He was reacting after TMC leader Derek O'Brien said that panchayat elections in state have a history of violence and that the percentage of violence has come down compared to the Left rule. At least 13 people have been killed in the violence so far, officials said.
"This itself shows that they are defensive and guilty. Media is showing what is happening. If this was happening during Left Front rule, then the TMC government would never have come in Bengal and the chief minister would not have been the chief minister of Bengal," the CPI(M) general secretary told reporters.
Condemning the violence, Yechury said that it is "naked attack on democracy" and that the party would fight back through people's involvement for which the process has already begun.
"First they didn't allow people to file nominations. Second after filing nominations, TMC started threatening the candidates to withdraw. The people who didn't withdraw they were attacked. This is nothing but a complete destruction of democratic process. We do not support president's rule. CPI(M) would answer it back democratically. And that democratic resistance has begun and that what would be our answer," Yechury told reporters.
He also claimed that "if free and fair polls were conducted", the Left parties would have got more than 50 percent seats.
"That is why they are indulging in violence," he said. The Left leader also attacked the State Election Commission (SEC) and state administration saying that the SEC has "virtually gone underground" and police are "collaborating with TMC goons".
Yechury said that the West Bengal State Election Commission will be seen as complicit in the ruling Trinamool Congress' "project of destroying democracy" if it does not act to restore faith in the electoral process.
"Allowing TMC to get away with throttling democracy has implications well beyond West Bengal," Yechury said on Twitter earlier in the day. The CPI(M) has directed all units across the country to protest against the violence in West Bengal.