Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Polling on for West Bengal panchayat elections amid tight security

Polling on for West Bengal panchayat elections amid tight security

A couple were burnt to death at their home in South 24 Parganas district early today, hours before panchayat polls were to being in West Bengal, police said.

The rural elections will be held in 621 zilla parishads and 6157 panchayat samitis, besides in 31,827 gram panchayats, spread across 20 districts on May 14, the State Election Commission said.

The polling began at around 7:00 am and will culminate at 5 pm.

The counting for the The single-phase polls will take place on May 17.

"The state administration will play a strong role in tomorrow's panchayat elections. At least steps should have been taken to stop this kind of election", he said.

They will aid around 46,000 personnel of the State police and 12,000 of the Kolkata Police, while the State Government would use close to 2,000 security personnel from the departments of excise, prison and forests in manning the booths, an SEC official said. Instances of hurling bombs at voters and political rivals, inter and intra party clashes, brick-batting, intimidating poll officials were reported across districts in Bengal.

Meanwhile, Congress workers are holding protests outside the office of the State Election Commission in Kolkata over the violence that has erupted in West Bengal as the state is voting today for panchayat polls.

These seats include 16,814 of the total 48,650 in gram panchayats, 3,059 of the total 9,217 in panchayat samitis and 203 of the total 825 in zila parishads.

TV channels aired footage showing north Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh slapping a BJP polling agent in a booth in Natabari of the district. Twenty people were injured in a low-intensity blast at a polling station in Cooch Behar district. The four were killed in separate incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad districts. The ruling trinamul Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front in the state have charged the allegations against each other on the violence during filing nomination papers for elections.

Trinamool, rejecting these allegations, had said that the opposition has no valid point and was trying to evade the elections.

Around 1,500 security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are in the state for the voting in addition to the almost 58,000 security personnel of the state police.

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