India Politics

2018 West Bengal Panchayat Elections Highlights; ballot boxes looted at gunpoint, 11 killed in violence

Written by Abhishek Lohia

After a long legal battle, for the much-awaited Panchayat elections in West Bengal, voting is being held under the tight security system today. But during elections, violence has spread in many places in the state. In which 6 people have died while many people have been injured. In the previous night, the CPM candidate and his wife burnt alive. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Panchayat elections following in the state is the last big election for opposition parties. Polling was started at seven o’clock in the morning, and it will be followed till 5 PM. The counting will be done on 17th May. The ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and the Left Front in the state have charged the allegations against each other on the violence during filing nomination papers for elections. The opposition had alleged that ruling Trinamool Congress did violence during the nomination process.

Trinamool, rejecting these allegations, had said that the opposition has no valid point and was trying to evade the elections. The top leaders of all parties have campaigned in this election. However, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee did not campaign, She appealed to the people of Bengal to vote in support of her government’s development works.

West Bengal Panchayat Elections Live Updates

2:00 PM IST- Ballot boxes have allegedly been looted at gunpoint at booths in Murshidabad. 41.51% voter turnout has been recorded till 1pm in West Bengal.

1:30 PM IST- CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury says the West Bengal State Election Commission will be seen as complicit in the ruling Trinamool Congress’ “project of destroying democracy” if it does not act to restore faith in the electoral process.

12:50 PM IST- Five Local journalists have been injured in violence following booth capturing in Birpara allegedly by TMC workers.

12:40 PM IST- After CPM worker and his wife were set ablaze, another CPM worker was killed in a blast during clashes in North 24 Parganas. In another incident, a Trinamool Congress supporter died after being shot in Kuktuli in South 24 Parganas district. A BJP worker was also killed in a bombing in Murshidabad.

12:25 PM IST-  26.28% voter turnout till 11 am in West Bengal.

12:20 PM IST- A TMC worker named Arif Gazi shot dead in Kultali area of South 24 Parganas district. At least six people have been killed in poll-related violence in West Bengal.

12:10 PM IST- A girl was injured by an arrow in Keshpur of East Midnapore district as bombing and violence continue in the area.

12:00 PM IST-  Voting was stopped in Shikarpur in Jalpaiguri district after ballot boxes were set on fire.

11:35 AM IST– The BJP’s panchayat poll percentage in 2008 and 2013 hovered around 3 percent. But in subsequent elections, that number has increased to over 20. The BJP has also fielded the largest number of candidates in this panchayat poll after the Trinamool.

11:20 AM IST- Last week, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the state election commission and state officials would be held personally liable and have to pay compensation if the loss of life and property in the panchayat election was higher than that in the 2013 poll.

11:10 AM IST- BJP workers allegedly chop off a finger of TMC worker, while 14 Trinamool members were beaten up by saffron party leaders in Nandigram’s Satengabari. Transport Minister Subhendu Adhikari blamed BJP for the clash, adding that the situation is under control presently and “TMC will win by a huge margin”.

10:38 AM IST- Four people have been arrested as incidents of firing have been reported in Uluberia. Miscreants allegedly hurled a bomb at police. In Jalpaiguri’s Dhupguri, eight people have been injured during clashes between TMC and BJP leaders.

10:15 AM IST- Even as 16.6% voter turnout was recorded till 10:15 am, voting was stopped at a booth in East Midnapore’s Contai after the polling station was ransacked. A police team has been rushed to the spot. Another incident of violence has been reported in Mandirbazar area of South 24 Parganas district where a TMC panchayat candidate and his brother were attacked by alleged BJP and CPM workers.

9:45 AM IST- In the wake of violence,  Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says, “I would like to request all to maintain peace

9:30 AM IST- According to sources in West Bengal State Election Commission, today elections will be held in 621 Zilla Parishad, 6,157 Panchayat Samitis and 31,827-gram panchayats. Strict security arrangements have been made for the polls, and about 1,500 security personnel have been deployed from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh.

About the author

Abhishek Lohia

Abhishek Lohia was a Sports and Political Writer working for Newsfolo and is no longer associated with the organization.

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