Violence in Bengal Panchayat elections, 13 killed, ballot boxes looted, ballot papers burnt

West Bengal Panchayat elections: Voting for the three-tier panchayat elections in West Bengal began on Saturday as 13 people were killed in poll-related violence in the state since Friday night. There are also reports of looting of ballot boxes and burning of ballot papers at many places. Along with this, a ballot box was seen floating in a pond.

Officials said those killed included eight members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), one worker each from the BJP, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI), Congress and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and another person, whose identity has not been disclosed. Could have happened.

According to officials, several people were also injured in the violent clashes. In addition, there were reports of destruction of ballot boxes at polling booths in several parts of the state. Polling began at 7 am in 73,887 seats in rural areas of the state and 5.67 crore voters would decide the fate of nearly 2.06 lakh candidates, officials said.

BJP’s allegation: He said that till 1 pm, 33.66 percent polling was recorded in the state. According to officials, BJP’s polling agent Madhav Biswas was allegedly killed in Coochbehar district’s Falimari gram panchayat. The BJP alleged that when Biswas tried to enter the polling booth, Trinamool Congress supporters stopped them and they killed Biswas as the brawl escalated. However, the Trinamool Congress has denied the allegations.

According to police, a supporter of an independent candidate was beaten to death late on Friday night in Kadambagachi area of ​​North 24 Parganas district. Superintendent of Police Bhaskar Mukherjee told reporters that 41-year-old Abdullah Ali had died. But later the Superintendent of Barasat Hospital said that Ali is seriously injured and is on ventilator, he has not died.

Murder of Trinamool workers: Officials said a Trinamool Congress worker was killed in late night poll-related violence in Kapasdanga area of ​​Murshidabad district. Officials said that the deceased has been identified as Babar Ali. Another Trinamool Congress worker, identified as Sabiruddin SK, was killed in Khargram area of ​​the district.

The Trinamool Congress also alleged that one of its booth committee members in Cooch Behar’s Tufanganj 2 panchayat committee was killed in an attack by the BJP. The brother of a Trinamool Congress leader was killed in clashes with Congress supporters in Malda district, police said.

He said that the incident took place at Jisharattola under Manikchak police station area and the deceased has been identified as Malek Shaikh. The Trinamool Congress also alleged that one of its workers was killed in Chhapra, Nadia. An ISF worker was killed in clashes with Trinamool Congress in Haringhat area of ​​the district, police said. The victim has been identified as Saidul Shaikh, 48.

Trinamool Congress’s Nadia unit president Debasish Ganguly claimed that the incident took place when ISF workers hurled crude bombs at Trinamool Congress workers. He claimed that a bomb fell from his hand and exploded. However, Sheikh’s family alleged that he was killed in an attack by Trinamool Congress supporters.

A 38-year-old man was killed at Basanti in South 24 Parganas district, police said. The incident took place in Phulmalancha area and the deceased has been identified as Anisur. A Congress worker was allegedly killed in election-related violence in Murshidabad’s Rejinagar police station area. The slain activist has been identified as Yasmin SK.

CPI(M)’s Rajibul Haque was seriously injured in an attack by Trinamool Congress supporters in Aushgram 2 block of East Barddhaman district. He died during treatment in a hospital. The Trinamool Congress alleged that CPI(M) supporters killed one of its supporters outside a polling booth in Katawa area of ​​the district. The deceased has been identified as Gautam Roy.

Ballot boxes destroyed: There were also reports of destruction of ballot boxes and intimidation of voters from some areas. According to officials, ballot boxes were smashed and ballot papers set on fire at a polling station at Barvita Government Primary School in Dinhata in Cooch Behar district. In a video going viral on social media, a man is seen running away with a ballot box.

At another polling station in Baranchina area, locals also set ablaze a ballot box with ballot papers alleging foul play, he said. Protests were also held in various areas demanding the deployment of central forces.

West Bengal Panchayat elections

Demonstration with poison bottles: In Nandigram, women voters gheraoed a police officer with poison bottles in their hands and demanded that central forces be deployed in the area. Governor CV Anand Bose visited various areas of North 24 Parganas, met those injured in the violence and listened to their grievances.

Bose told reporters that people on the way requested me to stop my convoy. There are so many stories to tell, he told me about the murder incidents happening around him. He also said that the goons did not allow him to go to the polling stations and the presiding officers did not listen to him. These are isolated cases, but even a single incident of bloodshed should be a cause of concern for all of us.

The Governor said that this is the most auspicious day for democracy. These are isolated incidents, but they must stop. The ruling Trinamool Congress questioned where are the central forces, which were brought in for the elections.

State minister Shashi Panja asked that shocking incidents were being reported since last night. The BJP, the CPI(M) and the Congress had colluded and demanded central forces. Where are they posted after all? Trinamool Congress workers are being killed. Where is the centripetal force?

Allegations of uproar on BSF personnel: The Trinamool Congress also alleged that Border Security Force (BSF) personnel tried to create ruckus in a border village of Gitaldaha in Cooch Behar and disrupted the election process.

Sharing a video of open ballot boxes placed in the field, CPI(M) state secretary Mohammad Salim tweeted that the polling is over. Position of ballots, ballot boxes in a polling station. By the way, this picture is of Diamond Harbour. Around 70,000 personnel of the state police besides 600 companies of central forces have been deployed for the panchayat elections in West Bengal.

Sharing a video on Twitter, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar alleged that the State Election Commission (SEC) was reluctant to deploy central forces sent to West Bengal.

He asked that on one hand the SEC was reluctant to deploy central forces. On the other hand, civilian workers were deployed on election duty. This clearly shows that the State Government and the SEC have hoodwinked the court. Is SEC helping Trinamool goons to capture booths by keeping quiet?

The state has 63,229 gram panchayat seats and 9,730 panchayat samiti seats in 22 districts, while 928 zilla parishad seats in 20 districts. Long queues were seen outside polling stations since 6 am amid intermittent rain.

Candidates on all seats of Trinamool: The ruling Trinamool Congress is contesting all 928 Zilla Parishad seats, 9,419 Panchayat Samiti seats and 61,591 Gram Panchayat seats. The BJP has fielded candidates in 897 Zilla Parishad seats, 7,032 Panchayat Samiti seats and 38,475 Gram Panchayat seats.

The CPI(M) is contesting 747 Zilla Parishad seats, 6,752 Panchayat Samiti seats and 35,411 Gram Panchayat seats. The Congress is contesting 644 Zilla Parishad seats, 2,197 Panchayat Samiti seats and 11,774 Gram Panchayat seats.

Panchayat elections are considered very important for political parties, as it will give an opportunity to assess the strength and weakness of their organization before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Apart from this, this election will also underline the mood of the state regarding the first two years of the third consecutive term of the Trinamool Congress government. (Language/Webdunia)
Edited by: Vrijendra Singh Jhala

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