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Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday held the Election Commission responsible for the death of four persons in firing by CISF personnel during polling in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district and said the incident was a case of failure of leadership.

The four persons were killed as the central force's troopers allegedly opened fire after coming under attack from locals, who "attempted to snatch their rifles", in the district's Sitalkuchi area when voting was underway in the fourth phase of the assembly polls in the state, according to officials.

"I cannot recall in recent years any case of police firing on voting day during elections resulting in four deaths. It is a case of a failure of leadership and management of the deployment of security personnel. Who should bear responsibility?" the former Union minister tweeted.

"The EC (Election Commission) should be held responsible because it has made large scale transfers and postings of senior police officers in West Bengal," he said.

The Congress leader lamented that West Bengal, the land of Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, has fallen prey to the "virus of communalism".

Polarisation of society is taking place in West Bengal, "thanks to the BJP" and it is the gravest tragedy that has befallen that state, Chidamabaram said.

"I cannot believe that the land of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chander Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhas Chandra Bose, Satyajit Ray and Dr B C Roy can fall prey to the virus of communalism," he noted.

Making an appeal, Chidambaram said that "anyone who claims the legacy of these great leaders — as I proudly do — should shun and fight communalism".

The Election Commission ordered stopping the voting exercise at polling station number 126 in Sitalkuchi where the incident happened when polling was underway. PTI SKC SKC ANB ANB

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