17 killed, booths torched in West Bengal panchayat polls

West Bengal panchayat polls 2018 Independent candidate's supporter killed TMC leader held

West Bengal Panchayat polls to be held today amid tight security

BJP and TMC workers clashed across West Bengal as violence marred the panchayat elections on Monday. The deaths were reported from five districts.

Yechury praises "courage" of journalists, CPI (M) approach SEC - 56 per cent voter turnout till 3 PM After a protracted legal battle, the much-awaited panchayat polls have begun. The Supreme Court had set aside Calcutta High Court order that had asked West Bengal Election Commission to accept nominations rural polls e-mails on May 10.

As per news agency ANI, TMC workers also captured a polling booth and stopped people from voting by thrashing them using sticks. A home ministry official said the state government has been told to provide a detailed report on the circumstances leading to the violence and the steps taken to restore peace and punish those involved in the violence.

At Kutali of South 24 Parganas, one person was killed, he added.

Trinamool Congress turned the panchayat election in Bengal a farce.

Three deaths were reported from Murshidabad while two were killed in East Midnapore's Nandigram. Krishnapada Sarkar's family members claimed he was targeted by opposition supporters.

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If recent history is anything to go by, the ongoing panchayat polls could be a pointer to how the BJP will fare in the state. People standing in queue at a Shantipur booth lynched Trinamool worker Sanjit Pramanik as he tried to take control of the booth. In addition to that, Arif Hussain Gazi, a Trinamool Congress supporter was shot dead at Kultali area in the same district. Another Trinamool worker died in South Dinajpur's Tapan.

While the ruling Trinamool Congress has been doing consistently well in polls at all levels for the last few years, the main suspense has in recent past centred around which political force - the BJP or the Left Front - would be its main challenger. But it was the opposition that bore the brunt of the violence.

Another CPI-M worker Taimur Gayen has allegedly died in North 24 Parganas district's Amdanga while two others were injured during bombing.

In a related incident, West Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh was caught on camera slapping a BJP polling agent in Natabari, prompting the saffron party to demand his immediate arrest.

Officials said ballot papers are being used instead of Electronic Voting Machines. Malda and Murshidabad, too, saw violent scenes outside poll booths as two innocent voters succumbed to bullet injuries and seven others were hospitalised following a splinter injury.

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