West Bengal Panchayat Polls: 9 Dead in Violence, 56% Turnout Till 3 pm

West Bengal Panchayat Polls 9 Dead in Violence, 56% Turnout Till 3 pm
At least nine people were killed and scores of others sustained injuries in violence that broke out at several places in West Bengal, hours after voting began for panchayat polls in 20 districts on Monday, 14 May.

The BJP and CPI(M) have accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of allowing the violence to spread across the state. Incidents of booth capturing, allegedly by TMC workers, have also come to light. A media vehicle was set on fire in Bhangar district.

Left Parties Stage Protest Outside State Election Commission Office

Various members of the CPI-M, the Revolutionalry Socialist Party (RSP) and other parties belonging to the Left Front staged a protest outside the State Election Commission office against the incidents of violence during the panchayat election, reported ANI.

Regarding the protest, CPI(M) leader Biman Bose said:

    The election has turned into a commotion because no rules were followed. The police could not strengthen the security. That is why we have come here to speak to the Election Commission to find a solution.

'Nothing But Complete Destruction of Democracy': Sitaram Yechury

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury slammed the incidents of violence during the West Bengal panchayat election, saying , "This is nothing but complete destruction of democracy... We are organising a protest against it."

56.8% Polling Recorded Till 3 pm

The polling percentage till 3 pm for the West Bengal panchayat elections was 56.8 percent. Earlier, a State Election Commission (SEC) official said 41.5 percent polling was recorded till 1 pm.

Congress Stages Protests

Congress workers are staging a protest outside the State Election Commission office in Kolkata.

Ballot Boxes Looted in Murshidabad

Unidentified armed miscreants looted ballot boxes at gunpoint in booth number 44, 45 and 45K in Murshidabad, reports ANI.

Ballot Box Recovered From a Pond

A ballot box was recovered from a pond in West Bengal’s Sonadangi area.

TMC Workers Vandalise Polling Booth

Booths in North Dinajpur’s Sonadangi have come under attack, allegedly at the hands of TMC workers.

Clashes Between TMC and Congress Workers in Murshidabad

Clashes were reported between TMC and Congress supporters in Murshidabad in West Bengal.

Vehicles Vandalised in Raniganj

Vehicles were damaged in Raniganj area of Asansol while voting was underway in the state on Monday, 14 May.

TMC's Partha Chatterjee Condemns Violence

TMC leader Partha Chatterjee has condemned the violence meted out at journalists during the panchayat polls in West Bengal on Monday, 14 May.

    There are minor incidents taking place. No major incident has been reported. Voting is being conducted peacefully. The administration is active in places where clashes have taken place.

Babul Supriyo Demands President's Rule

Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo has demanded President's rule in West Bengal after violence ripped through the state during the panchayat elections on Monday, 14 May.

    Not surprised by incidents that have occurred since morning. Bengal government is a shameless government. You cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour.

26.28% Voter Turnout till 11 AM; Journalists Attacked

As many as 26.28 percent of the electorate turned out to vote in the West Bengal panchayat polls till 11 am, braving violence that has already killed two persons and injured several others in many parts of the state.

Even journalists were nor spared. At least five journalists were injured during violence that ensued after polling booths were captured, allegedly by TMC workers, in Birpara.

Sitaram Yechury Hits Out at Election Comission 

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hit out at the State Election Commission (SEC) after reports of violence and clashes between different party workers led to the killing of at least two persons and leaving scores of others injured/
    It seems that there is no Election Commission there. The government is killing democracy. We will fight back.

TMC Worker Shot Dead

A TMC worker was shot dead in Kultali area of South 24 Parganas district on Monday, 14 May. Violence has hit several parts of West Bengal as party workers continue to clash.

BJP Condemns Violence

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi has condemned the ongoing violence in West Bengal, saying it signified the culture of political violence under the Trinamool Congress.
"It's an alarming sign for democracy," he told ANI.

Violence in 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar, and South 24 Parganas

According to PTI, reports of violence have been come in from North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar, and South 24 Parganas districts. In Coochbehar district, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh allegedly slapped a person outside a polling booth.

The State Election Commission (SEC) said it has received a complaint and asked authorities to take action.

In the Dinhata area of north Bengal's Coochbehar district, at least 15 people, including voters, were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, sources told PTI. The voters later lodged a police complaint.

Bomb Explosion in North 24 Parganas District

At least 20 people sustained injuries in a crude bomb explosion in Amdanga's Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas, reported ANI.

Ballot Papers Thrown in Pond

Ballot papers were thrown in a pond after a clash broke out between Trinamool Congress workers and workers associated with the BJP in Murshidabad, forcing the election authorities to stop voting.

BJP Candidate Attacked With Knife

A BJP candidate was severely injured after he was attacked with a knife, allegedly by TMC workers, reported ANI. Raju Biswas from Bikanta is currently undergoing treatment at the Panihati State General Hospital.

TMC Minister Slaps BJP Worker, SEC Seeks Answer

TMC minister Rabindranath Ghosh, who was caught on camera slapping a BJP worker, has defended his actions. Ghosh told CNN-News18 that he slapped the worker because he was trying to run away with a ballot box.
The State Election Commission has issued the TMC minister a show-cause notice.

102-Year-Old Woman Casts Vote

A 102-year-old woman cast her vote on Monday, 14 May, at a polling booth in Dantan area of West Midnapore, West Bengal.

Violence in Bhangar

After Cooch Behar, violence was reported from Bhangar district too. A media vehicle was set afire, and a camera was also broken. Locals also alleged that TMC workers were capturing booths in Bhangar.

Alleged TMC Workers Capture Booths in South 24 Parganas

Almost all polling booths of Amjhara GP, Basanti block, South 24 Parganas were captured by alleged armed TMC goons, reported News 18. A media vehicle was damaged in clashes in South 24 Parganas district, NDTV reported.

20 Injured in Clashes in Cooch Behar

At least 20 people sustained injuries in clashes that broke out between two groups in Cooch Beharm, ANI reported. The locals alleged that they went to the polling booth to cast their vote and were attacked by TMC workers.

TMC Won Record Number of Seats Unopposed

Of the total 58,692 seats, 20,076 – or 34.2 percent – had already been decided uncontested, with Trinamool Congress winning a vast majority of them.
When a Twitter user pointed out such a large number of seats, TMC leader Derek O'Brien attributed the victory to the massive grassroots level cadre of the TMC and the absence of the same among Opposition parties.

Couple Burnt to Death, Violence, Booth Capturing Reported

Two groups have clashed in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district after a CPI(M) worker and his wife were set on fire allegedly by TMC workers.
A couple were burnt to death at their home in South 24 Parganas district, hours before panchayat polls were to being in West Bengal, police said.
"An incident of fire was reported. A man and his wife were burnt to death. Forensic experts have been called," Sundarbans Coastal police district SP Tathagata Basu said.
CPI(M) district secretary Shamik Lahiri named some people claiming that those goons of the Trinamool Congress had assaulted party worker Debaprasad Das and his wife Usha and then set the house afire.
Minister and local Trinamool MLA Mantu Pakhira denied the allegation and said the fire may have been caused by short circuit.
The Indian Express reported that some TMC goons have captured two booths in West Bengal's Bhangar district. Two candidates have also been allegedly kidnapped.

Violence Mars Polling

According to News18, a bomb exploded in South Dinajpur's Tapan, injuring three people. The violence was reported from Cooch Behar and Shibari districts too, injuring a woman.
The CPI(M) alleged that TMC "goons" stormed the house of a party worker and set him and his wife ablaze in Kakdweep, West Bengal. Questioning the fairness of elections, the CPI(M) also asked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee if this was the kind of democracy she wanted.

Voters Queue Up to Cast Vote

The West Bengal panchayat polls began on Monday, 14 May, amid surveys suggesting that the Trinamool may walk away with a bulk of the seats at all three levels – panchayat, panchayat samiti and the zila parishad.

Opposition Questions SEC

The Left and the Congress had joined hands to fight the TMC in the 2016 Assembly elections. However, post-2016, the Bharatiya Janata Party has finished runners-up in almost all state elections, replacing the Left and the Congress.
Pre-poll surveys have also predicted that the BJP could challenge Trinamool Congress' supremacy. During the run-up to nominations, the Opposition parties had accused the TMC of using muscle power to stop them from filing nominations.
The State Election Commission (SEC) had to defer the elections. The Opposition parties have also questioned the integrity of the SEC, alleging it was under pressure from the ruling TMC.

At least nine people were killed and scores of others sustained injuries in violence that broke out at several places in West Bengal, hours after voting began for panchayat polls in 20 districts

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