Kolkata: The West Bengal unit of the BJP on Tuesday slammed the TMC for “murdering democracy” in the State during yesterday’s Panchayat polls that left at least 12 people dead and several injured.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged that the law and order situation under the present government has completely collapsed in West Bengal.

“The TMC along with SEC (West Bengal State Election Commission) has murdered the democracy in the State. They have snatched away the democratic rights of the masses. If the TMC is so confident of the development it has done then why didn’t it allow the masses to vote freely,” Ghosh said.

The rural Bengal recorded at least 8 deaths in the panchayat polls. At least 16 people died in the run-up to the elections between 2 April, the day submission of nominations began, and 13 May.

Widespread violence during the panchayat polls yesterday left at least 12 people dead and 43 injured, even as more than 73 % of the electorate turned up to cast their vote.

Opposition parties have accused the TMC of unleashing “a reign of terror and destroying democracy”. The TMC has termed the allegations “baseless”.

“Initially, they didn’t allow people to file nominations. And those who managed to do so were threatened by TMC and were asked to withdraw. The people who didn’t withdraw were attacked. This is nothing but a complete destruction of the democratic process in the State,” he said.

The youth wing of the BJP has today called a candlelight march in the city to protest against yesterday’s violence.

Ghosh said there were still many in the State who were willing to contest the elections. “If they are allowed to file nominations by email, I believe more than one lakh papers will be submitted,” the BJP leader said here before leaving for Ambari of Jalpaiguri for the election campaign.

The BJP was prepared for the polls any day- maybe this month, June or July- whenever they would take place, he said.

He added, once election results were out, the BJP would emerge as a force to be reckoned with in Bengal.