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West Bengal panchayat polls: Supriyo calls for President's rule; updates

Business Standard West Bengal panchayat polls: Supriyo calls for President's rule; updates

Voting for the West Bengal Panchayat polls 2018 began at 7 am on Monday and will continue until 5 pm. The counting will take place on May 17. Catch the latest developments here

BS Web Team | New Delhi Last Update d at May 14, 2018 14:57 IST

http://mybs.in/2VmsFbZ


Election personal distributing ballot boxes to Polling officials before they leave for polling stations at BDO office, on the eve of West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018 in Birbhum district on Sunday
West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018 today: Election personal distributing ballot boxes to Polling officials before they leave for polling stations at BDO office, on the eve of West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018 in Birbhum district on Sunday
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The single-phase West Bengal panchayat election is underway amid tight security. Several reports of clashes have emerged from various districts in which dozens of people have been injured. Further, violence broke out in North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar, and South 24 Parganas districts, killing three people and injuring at least 21.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) have blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of violence during the ongoing West Bengal Panchayat election. Union Minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo on Monday demanded President 9;s rule in the state, while CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury urged the state election commission (SEC) to act in a way to restore faith in the election process.
Amid the violence, the election witnessed 41.51 per cent voter turnout until 1 pm.

It is the last major election in the state before next year's Lok Sabha elections.

With 40 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats located in the districts, political parties are viewing Monday's polls as a warm-up match ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The three-tier panchayat polls are being held in the state after a protracted legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the state election commission, the TMC, and opposition parties.

In North 24 Parganas, a Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, worker and his wife were charred to death after their house was torched on Sunday night. There are allegations that TMC workers were behind the attack.

Incidents of violence were also reported from Bhangar, where a media vehicle was torched and a camera broken. Subsequently, the media was prohibited from entering the area.

Furthermore, Bhangar locals blocked the roads, alleging that TMC workers were capturing the polling booth.

The counting will take place on May 17.

Here are the top developments on the panchayat polls currently underway in West Bengal:
1) Bengal govt is a shameless govt, says Union Minister Babul Supriyo:
Demanding President's rule in the state, Supriyo said he was not surprised by all the incidents that have taken place since morning. "Bengal government is a shameless government, you cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour," Supriyo said.

2) Election Commission of West Bengal must act, says Yechury: Sitaram Yechury, in a tweet on Monday, called on the SEC to act in a way that will restore faith in the electoral process.

1) TMC worker shot dead: A TMC worker named Arif Gazi was on Monday shot dead in Kultali area of South 24 Parganas district, news agencies reported. 2) Deaths in Nadia, North 24 Parganas district: A person named Taibur Gayen on Monday was killed and two others were injured after crude bombs were hurled at them, allegedly by TMC supporters, reported Hindustan Times. The news portal also reported the death of twenty-seven-old Sanjit Pramanik in Santipur of Nadia district due to bullet injuries received during clashes.

3) BJP candidate from Bilkanda attacked with a knife: BJP's Bilkanda candidate Raju Biswas was injured after being attacked with a knife, allegedly by TMC workers, news agencies reported.


4) Voting stopped in Shikarpur in Jalpaiguri: The state election commission has stopped voting in a booth in Shikarpur in Jalpaiguri district where ballot boxes were set on fire.

ALSO READ: West Bengal panchayat polls: Rural heartland key to Mamata's ambitions

5) Violence across West Bengal: Violence was reported from various parts of West Bengal as the polling for the single-phase panchayat election was underway on Monday.

Within less than two hours after the polling began, the state election commission received complaints of violence from at least four districts from different parts the state and asked the police to take action, officials said.

The state election commission is conducting the panchayat election.

Violence broke out in North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar, and South 24 Parganas districts.
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6) BJP, TMC blame each other for violence: The opposition CPI(M) and BJP have accused the TMC of terrorising voters and hurling bombs outside polling stations in Burdwan district.

In North 24 Parganas, the BJP accused the ruling TMC of letting loose a reign of terror in several parts of the district, especially in Amdanga area.

The TMC has termed the allegations as baseless.

Senior minister Jyotipriyo Mullick denied the involvement of the TMC in the incident and accused BJP of terrorising the voters.

7) Twenty injured in clashes at Cooch Behar: Twenty people were injured in a clash that broke out between two groups in Cooch Behar. "We went there to vote but people belonging to TMC attacked us with sticks," locals told news agency ANI.


8) Tripura Governor calls for peaceful panchayat polls in Bengal: Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy on Sunday expressed hope that the people of West Bengal will be able to cast their vote peacefully during Mond ay's panchayat polls.

Roy, a former president of the BJP's West Bengal unit and a former member of the BJP's national executive, on the sidelines of an event in Kolkata, told reporters that people should be allowed to cast their vote without difficulty.

ALSO READ: Cong extends support to CPI(M) for West Bengal Assembly bypoll

9) Roads blocked by locals in Bhangar: Accusing TMC workers of booth capturing, locals blocked a road in Bhangar in protest.


10) BJP supporter allegedly slapped by state minister: In a video tweeted by news agency ANI, West Bengal Minister and TMC leader Rabindra Nath Ghosh was seen slapping a man near a poll booth.

According to the news agency, the man was hit by Ghosh after he identified him as a BJP supporter.


According to media reports, Ghosh has denied he assaulted a BJP leader in a Natabari booth. “The youth, a BJP agent, was trying to run away with the ballot box. I was passing by the way, saw a crowd and went close. I intervened but I did not assault anybody,” says Ghosh.

With agency inputs

First Published: Mon, May 14 2018. 13:12 IST
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