KOLKATA: In light of the escalating violence leading up to the upcoming panchayat elections, West Bengal Governor CV Anand Bose has taken a significant step by establishing a ‘peace room’ within the Raj Bhavan. This groundbreaking move marks the first of its kind in the state’s electoral history. The announcement came following the governor’s visit to the violence-stricken areas of Bhangar and Canning in the South 24 Parganas district, situated adjacent to Kolkata.
The establishment of the ‘Peace Room’ was formally announced through a notification released by the Raj Bhavan. The notification emphasized the necessity of addressing the numerous complaints of violence and intimidation prior to the elections, leading to the decision to set up this dedicated space. To facilitate the process, an email ID and a 24×7 helpline number (033-22001641) have been provided for people to register their grievances.
Governor Bose has taken the responsibility of forwarding the received complaints to the State Government and the Election Commission, urging them to take appropriate action. In an effort to foster a peaceful electoral process, Governor Bose had previously summoned State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sinha to the Raj Bhavan on Saturday. However, Sinha expressed his unavailability, citing his busy schedule in scrutinizing nomination papers.
During his visit to the Canning area, Governor Bose made it clear to reporters that there would be zero tolerance for violence during the elections. He emphasized that strict action would be taken against those involved in any form of violence, asserting that such behavior has no place in a democratic society.
Political circles speculate that the Governor’s decision may further strain his relationship with the ruling Trinamool Congress. Kalyan Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress leader, accused the Governor of selectively visiting areas where opposition party members have been killed. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee echoed these sentiments during a rally in Diamond Harbor, expressing her desire for the Governor to also visit the homes of deceased Trinamool Congress workers.
The establishment of the ‘peace room’ reflects the Governor’s determination to ensure a peaceful and fair electoral process, instilling confidence among the electorate and taking a proactive stance against violence and intimidation. As the panchayat elections draw nearer, all eyes will be on West Bengal, closely monitoring the impact of this unique initiative in maintaining law and order during the crucial democratic exercise.