West Bengal Rural Polls: Incidents of violence have been reported across the state.
At least nine people were killed as violence erupted during the single phase panchayat elections in West Bengal, which recorded 72 per cent polling till 5 pm. As many as 38,529 seats across the state of West Bengal were up for contest on Monday as the voters exercise their franchise in the West Bengal Panchayat Election. The state has witnessed several incidents of political clashes and violence over the past few weeks. After about 34 per cent of the seats were won by the Trinamool Congress
, the Supreme Court last week expressed concern that such a large percentage of seats were won by the ruling party and the top court stayed the notification of those results. This year, the Panchayat poll in Bengal was held in one phase. In 2013, the panchayat election had been a multi-phased poll and 17 people died.
Here are the highlights of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections
Death toll far lesser than in past: Bengal police chief
At least nine people died in violence during elections to three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions in West Bengal. Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha on Monday claimed that the death toll and violence was "far lesser than in the past", IANS reported.
"We wanted the elections to be peaceful and tried to ensure that no deaths occur in poll violence. Unfortunately, some people died. However, the death toll and violence recorded in Monday's panchayat elections is far lesser than previous PRI polls," Mr Purkayastha said at the State Secretariat Nabanna.
Centre seeks report from West Bengal government on poll violence
Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the West Bengal government regarding incidents of violence during panchayat election in the state.
A CPI(M) delegation led by Biman Bose meets governor. Mr Bose says, "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."
Voter killed in Nadia's Tehatta
One voter has reportedly been killed at Tehatta in Nadia district. He was caught in a clash between BJP and TMC.
BJP delegation to meet governor
A delegation of BJP led by state president Dilip Ghosh is heading to meet Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi. The meeting is scheduled to held at 5 pm. The delegation also includes BJP leader Mukul Roy.
1 killed in South Dinajpur
In South Dinajpur, a person was killed and four others were injured after a bomb was hurled outside a polling station in Tapan area, news agency PTI quotes an official as saying.
In North Dinajpur, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from the district headquarter Raiganj, reports PTI quoting police. Of the three bombs, two were found on railway tracks, RPF sources said, adding the bomb squad has been informed.
Man beaten to death in Nadia
A man was beaten to death as he tried to enter a polling premises in Nadia district, reports IANS.
Two CPI(M) workers are killed as violence erupts in East Midnapore's Nandigram.
Violence erupts in Namkhana
Clashes are reported from Namkhana in South 24 Parganas district and several other areas, reports IANS.
The 'Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee' committee has alleged that their candidate Entazul Khan was severely injured in an attack by Trinamool Congress-backed miscreants and was taken to Kolkata's RG Kar Hospital.
Allegations of kidnapping candidate in Bhangar
In South 24 Parganas' Bhangar, the 'Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee' (Committee for protecting land, livelihood, ecology and environment), which is spearheading an anti-power grid movement in the area, accused armed miscreants of the Trinamool Congress of kidnapping their Panchayat Samiti candidate Sariful Mullick and terrorising voters, reports IANS.
Violence in Panskura, Keshpur
Violence erupted in East Midnapore district's Panskura and West Midnapore district's Keshpur where gun-toting miscreants gathered outside the polling stations and beat up voters, reports news agency IANS.
15 injured in clashes in Coochbehar's Dinhata
In the Dinhata area of Coochbehar district, at least 15 people, including voters, were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, police sources said, reports PTI. The voters have lodged a police complaint.
Congress workers protest in Kolkata
Congress workers protest outside state election commission office in Kolkata after violence killed several people in the state during the panchayat election which is currently underway. Heavy police presence is reported from the scene.
One person was killed in Nowad, Murshidabad.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury called upon the election commission to "restore faith in democracy".
BJP State President Dilip Ghosh in a tweet claimed, "the polling process was supposed to start at 7AM today, but in multiple places it started before 7 AM." He also called for the resignation of West Bengal Minister Rabindranath Ghosh.
A bystander was shot dead in Murshidabad today. The state witnessed widespread violence since morning.
Why Is BSF Interfering In Rural Polls: Trinamool Congress
As clashes were reported across the state, the All India Trinamool Congress raised objection on interference by the BSF in the West Bengal Rural Polls.
Foreign experts have been called in after a CPM worker and his wife were locked inside their home and burnt alive hours before the panchayat polls in West Bengal. Read here
State Government Is Shameless: BJP's Babul Supriyo On Poll Violence
"I am not surprised by the incidents of violence. I can identify my workers, they are victims. State government is shameless, can't expect them to conduct their duties," BJP lawmaker Babul Supriyo said.
He added, "Derek's Tweet deplorable. People are dying - Bengalis are dying, be from BJP or CPM, they can't belong to TMC. I supposed Article 356 was drafted for such situations. I demand President's rule in state. This has never happened in Bengal. We have heard about violence in Bihar, in U.P, but never have we seen this before. I was assaulted, the Police Commissioner said he doesn't have orders, I had to go to Court to get the FIR registered. TMC workers behaving like animals, they have orders to do so, that is why we don't see Police acting. Even teargas isn't being fired, they have been directed to not act. Ballot boxes are being set on fire, these aren't isolated incidents. Such is the situation in accessible areas, imagine what is going on in remote, rural areas."
In West Burdwan's Kanksa, clashes reported between TMC supporters supporters of the BJP and CPM.
"There are minor incidents taking place, no major incidents have been reported. Administration is active in places where such clashes have taken place. Voting is being conducted peacefully. I strongly condemn the attack on journalists," West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
In another tweet, Derek O'Brien tied to brush off the controversy around the "uncontested seats"
Amid reports of clashes from across the state, Trinamool Congress lawmaker Derek O'Brien tweeted about history of clashes in West Bengal rural polls. He also blamed CPM and the BJP for the violence.
A TMC supporter was shot dead at Kultali during clashes with Left party SUCI in South 24 Parganas district.
Clashes have also been reported in Durgapur.
Five local journalists were injured during clashes at Birpara polling booth, news agency ANI reported.
Widespread violence has been reported across the state. Here is a story that
sums up polling since morning in pictures.
A voter turnout of 26.28 per cent was recorded till 11 am in West Bengal, news agency ANI reported.
In North 24 Parganas district's Bilkanda, BJP candidate Raju Biswas was stabbed in stomach. He was later taken to a nearby hospital in an auto.
Amid violence, over 11 per cent polling was recorded till 9 am in the West Bengal panchayat polls, SEC officials said. Several people were injured as sporadic violence was reported across the state.
In Birbhum's Mohammedbazar, some people allegedly tried to flee with ballot boxes. Women were seen picking up ballot papers strewn on the ground.
TMC Has Not Attacked Anyone: State Minister
"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," West Bengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. He was referring to the reports of him slapping a BJP supporter. The State Election Commission said it has received complaint in this regard, news agency PTI reported.
Amrito Saha is undergoing a surgery at Raiganj Hospital after he was injured during violence at a polling booth. The booth number 239 where he was injured is now abandoned.
Ballot boxes were set on fire at Rajganj block, Shikarpur village, Tetultala Primary School.
A 102-year-old woman cast her vote at a polling booth in Dantan area of West Midnapore, news agency ANI reported.
In Uluberia, Howrah, bombs were hurled at cops.
One person has been injured in poll violence in West Bengal in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district.
An independent candidate from Nadia district was shot at.
Bengal Panchayat Elections: Other Incidents Of Violence In The State
Among other incidents of violence, miscreants reportedly stormed into a polling station and tried to forcefully stamp ballot papers in Bagda in North 24 Parganas district.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) have written to the State Election Commission claiming that the home of two supporters -- a husband and wife -- was set on fire last night. The couple burnt to death, they said. The incident happened at Namkhana in 24 Parganas South district.
What Is The Jami Jibika Protection Committee?
The Jami Jibika (pronounced jomi jibika) Protection Samiti is an anti land acquisition group in Bengal's Bhangar. For over a year they have been resisting land acquisition from farmers. Their protests started in January 2017.
Bengal Panchayat Elections: Multiple Incidents Of Violence Being Reported
20 people, including a Trinamool Congress candidate, have been injured reportedly in a low-intensity blast in Shutkabari in Cooch Behar district. It is suspected to be a clash between the TMC candidate and an independent. One woman has been seriously injured in the blast, locals say.
Violence being reported from Polerhat and Bhangar, where supporters and workers of the Trinamool Congress have clashed with the Jami Jibika Protection Samiti. A media vehicle was damaged during the clashes. Police have reportedly fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd.
A media vehicle was attacked at Bhangar.
In North 24 Parganas, 20 people were injured after bombing at a polling station.
Within less than two hours after the polling began, the State Election Commission has received complaints of violence from at least four districts from different parts the state and has asked the police to take action, SEC officials were quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Amid heightened security concerns for the West Bengal rural polls, around 71,500 armed personnel are on duty, manning every booth, news agency IANS reported. To boost the security arrangement, armed forces have also arrived from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh.
Opposition parties, including the CPM, BJP and Congress, accused the ruling of Trinamool Congress of indulging into arm tactics to prevent them from filing nominations. The ruling party has denied the allegation.
The rural polls in the state were earlier scheduled to be held on May 1, 3 and May 5. However, legal battles and incidents of violence delayed the West Bengal Panchayat Elections. Amid legal battles, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said she wanted the polls to be held before the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan. She also mentioned that mercury would shoot up in coming days.
A voter shows inked finger in Cooch Behar. Voting will be held across West Bengal from 7 am to 5 pm.
In the run up to West Bengal rural polls, there have been several incidents of sporadic violence across the state. A 30-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday when some gunmen opened fire on a poll rally at Bhangar, 25 km from Kolkata.
Voters have queued up outside the polling booths in West Bengal to cast their vote. Outside a polling booth in Jalpaiguri's Ashighar, voters were seen standing with a umbrella. Several parts of the country on Sunday experienced severe thunderstorm and rains.