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Widespread Violence in West Bengal Election

West Bengal Panchayat Election ( village council) was held on 14th May 2018. Polling for electing 38,616 representatives across the three tiers of West Bengal rural bodies was held in more than 58,000 booths across the state on 14 May.

At least 10 more people were killed and 50 injured on Tuesday, a day after large-scale violence bloodied the village council polls in West Bengal, taking the toll over the last two days to 29.

Instances of violence – bomb attack, booth capture, ballot boxes set on fire and attacks on journalists – were reported from at least eight districts. The toll – 15 on Monday (taking out the two deaths in South 24-Parganas, which the administration said was because of electrocution) and 10 on Tuesday – reached 29, which had taken place over five days of polling in 2013.

The spectre of violence looms over today’s repolling in 573 booths across the state. The last village council poll held in 2013 saw repolling in 21 booths, which means that the number of booths going for a repoll this time, 573, would be more than 27 times that number.

A clause in Calcutta High Court’s May 10 order, which said the state election commissioner and state government officials would have to pay compensation for the deaths and damage to property, mentioned that this would come into effect if the violence this time exceeded 2013 levels.

Ministry of Home Affairs seeks report from the West Bengal Government regarding incidents of violence during Village council Election in the state.
Trinamool Congress government would never have come in Bengal and the chief minister would not have been the chief minister of Bengal: CPI(M) general secretary SitaramYechury told to the Media.

West Bengal Members of CPI(M), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) & other parties of the Left Front staging protest outside State Election Commission against the incidents of violence during the Election.

Election has turned into a commotion because no rules were followed. Police could not strengthen the security. That is why we have come here to speak to the Election Commission to find a solution: Biman Bose, CPI(M) leader said to the Indian Media.

Not surprised by all the incidents that are happening since morning. Bengal govt is a shameless govt, you cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour. I demand President’s Rule in WestBengal : Babul Supriyo, very famous Indian Playback singer and Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises told to the press.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the Mamata Banerjee government over violence in this polls in West Bengal, the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress called it “outbursts of frustration”.

“People weren’t allowed to file nominations. People from all parties except one ruling the state have suffered. Workers of these parties were killed. This is serious. A land as great as West Bengal had to see such things. It is unfortunate,” Narendra Modi said.

“I don’t want to blame anyone. I am only worried about democracy,” the prime minister said.

The re-polling has been ordered in 10 booths in Hooghly, 28 booths in West Midnapore, 52 booths in Coochbehar, 63 booths in Murshidabad, 60 booths in Nadia, 59 booths in North 24 Parganas, 55 booths in Malda, 73 booths in Uttar Dinajpur and 26 in South 24 Pargans among others, they said.

Voting has been just completed 568 polling booths across 19 of the 20 West Bengal districts for the Civil Council election that went to the polls on 14 May.Tomorrow the counting will be held.

> Pratyusha Mukherjee

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