Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

68 pc turnout in WB panchayat repolls, voting more or less peaceful

A security guard stands in front of a strong room after the panchayat poll at Nadia district in West Bengal on Tuesday A security guard stands in front of a strong room after the panchayat poll at Nadia district in West Bengal on Tuesday
Faye Gross | 17 May, 2018, 00:12

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday ordered re-poll in 572 booths in 19 districts following recommendations of the district magistrates.

The home ministry said the first report that the state had sent was "sketchy", PTI reported quoting unidentified officials.

In Monday's panchayat poll violence that swept across Bengal, 13 people died and around 50 were injured. "So the commission made a decision to order repolling in all such booths where irregularities took place", said a source.

Brandishing a gun, unidentified miscreants, on Wednesday, escaped with a ballot box from polling booth no. 76 in Malda's Ratua during the re-polling in the Panchayat elections. Anuj Sharma, a senior state police officer, said violence began nearly as soon as voting got under way in the "panchayat" elections, the most local tier of governance in India.

Polling for electing 38,616 representatives across the three tiers of West Bengal rural bodies was held in more than 58,000 booths across the state on 14 May.

Following the incident, allegations were levelled against the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM) for jointly attacking the TMC. Contempt petitions should be issued against concerned police officers as their inaction on the polling day amounted to intervention with the administration of the court's order.

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Sources are saying that the Trinamool Congress has already won 20,163 of the total 58,692 seats unopposed.

This happened as a result of people's agitation when the re-polling started late in booth number 36/37.

The booths, where re-polling is taking place, include 63 in Murshidabad, 52 in Coochbehar, 28 in West Midnapore and 10 in Hooghly among others.

Presidency division - Howrah district, Kolkata district, Nadia district, North 24 Parganas district (Uttar 24 Parganas) and South 24 Parganas district (Dakshin 24 Parganas). At least 24 people were killed in violence during and after the elections.

While the voter turnout was reportedly 75 percent, widespread violence, including bombing and efforts of booth capturing by political goons, were reported across the state since morning.

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