Panchayat polls in West Bengal begins, violence reported

Villagers block a road at Natunhat

Villagers block a road at Natunhat

Less than three hours after polling began, the State Election Commission (SEC) received complaints of violence from several districts. "The district police superintendent is yet to confirm the death", an SEC official said.

According to reports, a media vehicle was damaged in clashes in South 24 Parganas district.

A youth, Taibur Gayen, was killed and two others injured when crude bombs were hurled at them allegedly by ruling party supporters at Amdanga in North 24 Parganas district.

A CPM worker was also killed in North 24 Parganas' Panchpota, according to The New Indian Express.

In West Bengal a CPI (M) worker and his wife were charred to death after their house in North 24 Parganas was torched last night.

A Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker was shot dead on Monday in Kultali area of West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district in poll-related violence even as voting continues in the state.

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After West Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh was caught on camera slapping a BJP polling agent when the voting for the panchayat polls was on in the state, the saffron party has demanded his immediate arrest. However, Ghosh claimed he did not do it.

In Dinhata area of Coochbehar district in North Bengal, a few voters were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, the sources said.

The opposition had accused the ruling TMC of letting loose a reign of terror during the nomination process. In Jalpaiguri's Dhupguri, eight people have been injured during clashes between TMC and BJP leaders.

# 02:17 PM: West Bengal: Voting booth vandalised allegedly by TMC workers in North Dinajpur's Sonadangi during Panchayat Polls.

Bengal food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick alleged that BJP had brought hundreds of people from Bangladesh to unleash violence, adding that police were outnumbered. The TMC has termed the allegations as baseless. In Birbhum, masked men carrying weapons and sticks were seen intimidating voters outside some of the booths. Samik Lahiri, CPI (M)- South 24 pgs District Secretary wrote to SEC, " I urge upon you to intervene and please ask the inert District Administration to act. "If panchayat polls are held on May 14 and in a single-phase then I feel that the people of the state will witness a historic election because it will result in a bloodbath".

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