Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

12 killed, 50 hurt in Bengal rural polls

12 killed, 50 hurt in Bengal rural polls

Within eight hours of West Bengal Panchayat polls, six persons died and over 20 were injured after violence erupted across the state.

Kolkata: The highly-anticipated rural polls will be held tomorrow in West Bengal after the state saw several instances of pre-poll violence and a bitter war of words between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and opposition parties. However, ballot casting was marred by violence across Nadia, North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Cooch Behar and South 24 Parganas districts, and East Midnapore districts. Second after filing nominations, TMC started threatening the candidates to withdraw. In the 2003 panchayat elections, around 40 people were killed. 400 killed in poll violence in 1990s in CPIM rule. Miscreants allegedly hurled a bomb at police.

Slamming the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government for the violence in which his party workers were killed and a couple was burnt to death in an arson, CPI-M secretary Surjya Kanta Misra said the Left's inception is not just to win elections but to continue the fight.

In Dinhata area of the district, at least 15 people, including voters, were injured after clashes broke out between two rival groups outside a polling station, police said.

In the midst of such allegations against TMC, a recent PTI report claimed that in order to defeat the TMC, BJP and CPI (M) activists on ground got into a tacit electoral understanding.

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In Contai area in the district, chilli powder was thrown at an Independent candidate and four others at a polling booth, they said. "However, the death toll and violence recorded in Monday's panchayat elections is far lesser than previous PRI polls", Purkayastha told reporters at the State Secretariat Nabanna here. "We are going to the spot", an officer from Amdanga police station said.

Meanwhile, the BJP also alleged that 52 of its supporters have died too.

Catch went to some of the polling booths at Bhangor in South 24 Pargana. Reports from Birbhum claimed that masked men carrying weapons and sticks were seen intimidating voters outside some of the booths. "TMC's armed gangs captured hundreds of booths in nearly all districts, chased away voters, cordoned villages to force people to remain indoors", it said.

Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India-Marxist [CPI (M)] and Congress have drawn their swords in an last attempt to have an upper hand in Bengal over the ruling Trinamool Comgress (TMC).

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