New Delhi, May 14: At least 20 people were injured and two died after violence was reported from various parts of West Bengal, as the polling for the single phase panchayat elections is underway today. A news agency ANI reported that 20 people were injured after a clash broke out between two groups in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The injured were taken to MJN hospital for treatment, ANI further reported. (Click Here For Live Updates of Voting)
According to reports, a media vehicle was damaged in clashes in South 24 Parganas district. TMC workers were also seen barring voters from entering Booth No. 14/79 in Birpara. The two who died were identified as CPI(M) supporter Debu Das and his wife Usha Das. The couple was charred to death after their house in North 24 Parganas was torched on Sunday night. As per media reports, in Bagda of North 24 Parganas district, nine goons were caught by villagers stamping ballot papers in a booth. Villagers caught them and handed over to police. A news agency ANI reported that one BJP supporter in Bilkanda was severely injured after being attacked with a knife by TMC workers. He is presently undergoing treatment.
Ballot papers were thrown in a pond after a clash broke out between TMC and BJP workers in Murshidabad. Voting has been stopped in the area. People were seen standing in long queues outside polling stations right from 6 am. The elections are being conducted using ballot papers. The voting for West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018 is being held across 20 districts amid tight security. Around 1,500 security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are in the state to reinforce security arrangements for the polls. Security forces conducted route marches in various parts of the state as part of security arrangements.
According to the reports, nearly 5.08 crore voters —74% of total electors in the State will cast their franchise today. Notably, the polls were earlier scheduled between May 1 and May 7 but it was postponed to May 14, following violence-related incidents between Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cadres.
According to the West Bengal State Election Commission, 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. In the 20 Zilla Parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested, the SEC said. The TMC has no opposition in 34 per cent of the seats. The results will be declared on Thursday, May 17.