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West Bengal gram panchayat elections HIGHLIGHTS: 12 killed in clashes as polling ends, 73 per cent voter turnout recorded

West Bengal gram panchayat elections LIVE UPDATES: In North Dinajpur, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from the district headquarters in Raiganj, police said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 15, 2018 6:42:43 am
West Bengal gram panchayat elections LIVE UPDATES: Four killed in clashes across state; TMC says voting peaceful West Bengal gram panchayat elections LIVE UPDATES: At least 20 people were injured in Cooch Behar district while another 20 have been reported to sustain injuries after a crude bomb exploded in Amdanga’s Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas, reported ANI. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

At least twelve people were reportedly killed and several others were injured after violent clashes broke out between rival groups during the panchayat elections currently being held in West Bengal. Around 73 per cent of voting was recorded till 5 pm, IANS reported.

Reports of clashes and booth capturing were received from pockets of South 24 Parganas, West Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts. In South 24 Parnagas’ Bhangar, the ‘Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee’ accused armed miscreants of Trinamool Congress of kidnapping their Panchayat Samiti candidate Sariful Mullick and terrorising the voters.

In North Dinajpur, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from the district headquarters in Raiganj, police said. Of the three bombs, two were found on railway tracks, sources in the Railway Police Force said. Around 71,500 armed personnel have been deployed to keep an eye on every booth, reports IANS. Armed forces have also arrived from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh to strengthen security arrangements.

READ | West Bengal gram panchayat elections LIVE UDPATES in Bangla

According to West Bengal State Election Commission, the elections are being held in 622 zila parishads and 6,158 panchayat samitis, besides 31,836 gram panchayats of the state. This is because 16,814 gram panchayat seats, 3,059 panchayat samiti seats and 203 zila parishad were uncontested, the SEC said. Counting of votes will take place on May 17.

READ | To ensure there is a contest today, Opposition makes it TMC vs rest

Live Blog

West Bengal Gram Panchayat Elections LIVE UPDATES: Track all the developments here

19:34 (IST)14 May 2018
74 per cent voter turnout

The State Election Commission said the polling percentage was 73 at the end of voting hours, though the numbers would go up since 4.5 lakh voters were still queued up across the state, IANS reported.

19:07 (IST)14 May 2018
Polling concludes in Bengal

Polling ends in West Bengal.

18:56 (IST)14 May 2018
Yechury dismisses TMC's remarks on violence during Left rule

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury dismissed TMC leader Derek O'Brien's remarks that violence occurred during the Left rule too, saying had it been true, Mamata Banerjee would never have come to power in the state. "This itself shows that they are defensive and guilty. Media is showing what is happening. If this was happening during Left Front rule, then the TMC government would never have come in Bengal and the chief minister would not have been the chief minister of Bengal," the CPI(M) general secretary told reporters. He added, "First they didn't allow people to file nominations. Second after filing nominations, TMC started threatening the candidates to withdraw. The people who didn't withdraw they were attacked. This is nothing but a complete destruction of democratic process. We do not support president's rule. CPI(M) would answer it back democratically. And that democratic resistance has begun and that what would be our answer."

17:52 (IST)14 May 2018

A Home Ministry official said the state government has been told to provide a detailed report on the circumstances leading to the violence and the steps taken to restore peace and punish those involved in the violence. Despite massive security arrangements, 12 people have been killed so far.

17:35 (IST)14 May 2018
Visuals from Purulia
17:08 (IST)14 May 2018
MHA seeks report from Bengal government

According to news agency ANI, the Ministry of Home Affairs  has sought a report from the West Bengal government on incidents of violence during the elections.

16:01 (IST)14 May 2018
Visual from West Midnapore

Voters queue at Kakrajhor in West Midnapore on Monday. (Express photo by Subham Dutta)

15:57 (IST)14 May 2018
TMC leader Derek O’Brien lists out deaths under CPI(M) rule

As the opposition continued to train its guns on the Mamata Banerjee-led government over the increasing violence in the ongoing West Bengal Panchayat elections, senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Derek O’Brien listed the number of deaths that took place since the 1990s and accused the CPI(M) and BJP of “deliberately trying to foment trouble”.

15:52 (IST)14 May 2018
Immediate need to save Bengal: BJP's Kailash Vijayvargiya

BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya accused the "TMC goons" of capturing booths, and thereby, disrupting polling in several areas. "TMC goons have taken over polling booths in several areas. There is an immediate need to save Bengal," he tweeted.

15:40 (IST)14 May 2018
People of Bengal will protest this authoritarianism: Mohammad Salim

CPI(M) politbureau member Mohammad Salim also condemned the violence in West Bengal and called the electoral process a "farce". He tweeted, "Large scale violence during Panchayat Elections in WB. Witness the rape and killing of Democracy by the Jungle Raj of @MamataOfficial & TMC. The whole electoral process has become a farce. The people of Bengal will come out on the streets to protest this authoritarianism."

15:37 (IST)14 May 2018
Surjya Kant attacks TMC,BJP, says "both evils invincible"

Surjya Kanta Mishra, secretary of West Bengal CPI(M) state committee, tweeted, "Nobody should have any illusion of having free and fair election in Bengal in TMC rule or BJP can resist this onslaught on democracy. Only the people united against both the evils is invincible. To build a revolutionary party with mass line is the main task."

15:36 (IST)14 May 2018


15:17 (IST)14 May 2018
BJP MP Babul Supriyo accuses TMC of "brutally attacking" state's democracy
14:38 (IST)14 May 2018
Congress workers hold protest outside Election Commission in Kolkata
14:28 (IST)14 May 2018
Ballot boxes looted at polling booths in Murshidabad

Ballot boxes were looted at gunpoint by unidentified people at polling booths numbered 44, 45 and 45K booths in Murshidabad, reports ANI.

14:27 (IST)14 May 2018
Visuals of ballot box being retrieved from pond in West Bengal's Sonadangi
14:21 (IST)14 May 2018
41.51 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm

41.51 per cent voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in West Bengal, reports ANI.

14:19 (IST)14 May 2018
Polling booth vandalised allegedly by TMC workers in North Dinajpur's Sonadangi
14:07 (IST)14 May 2018
Clashes break out between TMC and Congress supporters in Murshidabad
13:45 (IST)14 May 2018
TMC questions BSF's 'interference' in Bengal panchayat polls

The three-tier state panchayat polls are happening after several delays, amid reports of violence and allegations of the TMC threatening the Opposition. With the TMC winning 34 per cent of the panchayat seats “uncontested”, 1,15,611 candidates (the TMC’s 31,709, the BJP’s 22,637 the CPM’s 16,699) are in the fray for the remaining.

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