West Bengal panchayat polls: Voting begins, violence and booth capturing reported

West Bengal panchayat polls: Voting begins, violence and booth capturing reported

Political parties are viewing today's poll as a warm up match ahead of the 2019 general elections. A BJP worker was also killed in a bombing in Murshidabad. The counting will take place on May 17. Four people were killed in the violence, say reports.

In North 24 Parganas, a CPI (M) worker and his wife were charred to death last night.

Incidents of violence were reported from across the state.

A media vehicle was damaged in clashes in Bhangar, South 24 Parganas district. The State Election Commission has sought a report on the incident from the polling booth official.

However, in many places the police acted swiftly and brought the situation under control, reports said.

As per a local, a number of individuals had gone to cast their vote at a polling station here, when they were attacked with sticks by a group of All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers. Two days back, one person was shot dead and Arabul Islam was arrested, following Chief Minister Mamata Baneerjee's direction.

Twenty people were injured in a low-intensity blast at a polling station in Cooch Behar district.

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In Keshpur area of West Midnapore district, police resorted to lathi-charge and chased people who were allegedly trying to intimidate voters.

Senior minister Jyotipriyo Mullick denied the involvement of the TMC in the incident and accused BJP of terrorising the voters. The opposition had alleged that ruling Trinamool Congress did violence during the nomination process.

Almost 2000 security personnel from Telangana, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are inthe state to reinforce security for the polls, besides 46,000 personnel of the state police and 12,000 of the Kolkata Police.

The ruling party, Trinamool Congress, has already won 34% of the seats uncontested, but the State Election Commission will not declare its candidates victorious until July as the Supreme Court has expressed concern over the matter.

According to the State Election Commission (SEC) sources, today's elections are being held in 621 zilla parishads and 6,157 panchayat samitis, besides 31,827 gram panchayats.

While violence relating to polls been reported from nearly all districts of the State, the deaths have been reported from South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, Nadia and Murshidabad.

On the other hand, Trinamool termed these allegations baseless and appealed voters to vote for development.

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