West Bengal Panchayat Elections: 56% polling reported; MHA seeks report on poll violence

14 May 2018, 08:35 PM
WB panchayat elections LIVE: Polling begins under tight security (File Photo)
WB panchayat elections LIVE: Polling begins under tight security (File Photo)

After a protracted legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the State Election Commission, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition parties, the voting for the single-phase panchayat elections finally took place on Monday across West Bengal.

The polling began at around 7:00 am and culminated at 5 pm. The counting will take place on May 17, according to officials.

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

Out of the 48,650 seats in 3,358-gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested, said West Bengal SEC. 

In the 20 Zilla Parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested, SEC added.

Over 12,000 Kolkata police personnel and 46,000 state police officers have been deployed in order to avoid incidents of violence. However, several incidents of brutality have already been reported from at least four districts of the state.

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

It is the last major polls in the state before the Lok Sabha elections and all eyes are on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is leaving no stone unturned to establish its power in the TMCP-ruled state.

Here are the LIVE updates on West Bengal panchayat elections:

# 05:03 PM: Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the West Bengal Government regarding incidents of violence during Panchayat Election in the state.

# 04:21 PM: Election has turned into a commotion because no rules were followed. Police could not strengthen the security. That is why we have come here to speak to the Election Commission to find a solution: Biman Bose, CPI(M) on West Bengal Panchayat Election.

# 04:18 PM: West Bengal: Members of CPI(M), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) & other parties of the Left Front staging protest outside State Election Commission against the incidents of violence during the Panchayat Election.

# 04:09 PM: Media is showing exactly what is captured in the camera.We admire the courage of journalists: SitaramYechury, general secretary, CPI-M on incidents of violence during West Bengal Panchayat Election.

# 04:03 PM: Overall 56% polling recorded till 3 pm in West Bengal .

# 03:56 PM: This is nothing but the complete destruction of democracy. Election Commission not giving time to the political representative. We are organizing a protest against it: Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, CPI-M on violence during West Bengal Panchayat Elections.

# 02:38 PM: West Bengal: Congress workers hold protests outside Election Commission in Kolkata.

# 02:25 PM: West Bengal Panchayat Elections: Ballot boxes looted at gunpoint by unidentified people at 44, 45 and 45K booths in Murshidabad.

# 02:23 PM: West Bengal Panchayat Poll: Ballot box being retrieved from a pond in West Bengal's Sonadangi.

# 02:21 PM: 41.51 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm in West Bengal Panchayat Election.

# 02:17 PM: West Bengal: Voting booth vandalised allegedly by TMC workers in North Dinajpur's Sonadangi during Panchayat Polls.

# 02:00 PM: West Bengal: Clashes broke out between TMC and Congress supporters in Murshidabad.

# 01:08 PM: There are minor incidents taking place, no major incidents have been reported. The administration is active in places where such clashes have taken place. Voting is being conducted peacefully. I strongly condemn the attack on journalists: Partha Chatterjee, TMC.

# 12:55 PM: Not surprised by all the incidents that are happening since morning. Bengal govt is a shameless govt, you cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour. I demand President's Rule in WB: Babul Supriyo, Union Minister on violence in various during.

# 12:40 PM: Clashes between BJP and CPI(M) workers in Durgapur during West Bengal Panchayat Elections.

# 12:12 PM: 26.28% voter turnout till 11 am in West Bengal #PanchayatElection.

# 12:10 PM: West Bengal: Five local journalists injured after violence, following booth capturing in Birpara, allegedly by TMC workers.

# 12:00 PM: West Bengal: A TMC worker named Arif Gazi shot dead in Kultali area of South 24 Parganas district.

# 11:56 AM: Highly condemnable and deplorable, it signifies that culture of political violence under TMC has engulfed entire #WestBengal & it is an alarming sign for democracy: BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi on violence during.

# 11:43 AM: West Bengal: At least 20 people have been injured after a crude bomb explosion in Amdanga's Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas.

# 11:27 AM: BJP agent was trying to run away with ballot box, officers caught hold of him but people said let him go. I just drove people away using my hand, that's all. TMC hasn't attacked anyone: Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh who was caught on cam slapping a BJP supporter.

# 11:21 AM: West Bengal: Ballot papers thrown in a pond after a clash that broke out between TMC and BJP in Murshidabad. Following which voting has been stopped for now.

# 10:37 AM: West Bengal: BJP candidate Raju Biswas from Bilkanda severely injured after being attacked with a knife, allegedly by TMC workers. He is presently undergoing treatment.

# 10:05 AM: West Bengal: 102-year-old woman casts her vote at a polling booth in Dantan area of West Midnapore.

# 10:02 AM: West Bengal: Road blocked by locals in Bhangar. They allege TMC workers of capturing the booth.

# 10:02 AM: BJP supporter Sujit Kumar Das, was slapped by West Bengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh at Cooch Behar's booth no 8/12 in presence of Police.

# 09:38 AM: WestBengal Panchayat Election: Violence reported in Bhangar, a media vehicle has been torched in and a camera has also been broken.

# 09:23 AM: Alleged TMC workers barring voters from entering Booth No. 14/79 in Birpara in West Bengal.

# 09:08 AM: West Bengal: CPI (M) worker and his wife charred to death after their house in North 24 Parganas was torched last night, CPI (M) alleges TMC workers were behind the attack.

# 08:59 AM: West Bengal: 20 injured in a clash which broke out between two groups in Cooch Behar. The injured have been taken to MJN hospital for treatment."We went there to vote but people belonging to TMC attacked us with sticks," say locals.

# 07:10 AM: Voting underway for Panchayat Elections in West Bengal.

# 07:00 AM: Voters standing in a queue outside a polling booth in Purulia's Chakra to cast their vote for Panchayat Elections West Bengal.

# 06:55 AM: Voters standing in a queue outside a polling booth in Jalpaiguri's Ashighar, with umbrellas in their hands, to cast their vote for West Bengal Panchayat Elections.

# 06:47 AM: Voting for Panchayat elections in 20 districts of West Bengal begins.

Earlier, the ruling Trinamool Congress was engaged in a bitter war of words with the opposition Congress, Left Front and BJP over the violence that erupted during the filing of nominations for the polls.

The opposition had accused the ruling TMC of letting loose a reign of terror during the nomination process. The TMC rubbished the allegations and had said the oppositions do not have a mass base and are trying to evade the polls.

The filing of nominations, which was held from April 2 to April 9 and then again on an extended date on April 23, was marked by violence and clashes between the ruling TMC and opposition parties that led to several deaths.

Although top leaders of all parties campaigned for the polls, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refrained from it.

Banerjee appealed to the people to vote in favour of development ushered in by her government.

First Published: Monday, May 14, 2018 09:32 AM
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