West Bengal Panchayat election LIVE: 1 killed, media persons attacked as Mamata Banerjee’s peace appeal fails

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New Delhi | Updated: May 14, 2018 3:18 PM

West Bengal Panchayat election Live Updates: Polling has begun for the crucial three-tier West Bengal Panchayat election 2018. The panchayat vote, which was in the news for prolonged court-battles and violence, are crucial for Mamata Banerjee's ruling Trinamool Congress

polling begins West Bengal Panchayat election 2018 dateWomen were seen standing in queue to cast their votes during West Bengal Panchayat Election 2018

West Bengal Panchayat election Live Updates: Polling has begun for the crucial three-tier West Bengal Panchayat election 2018. The panchayat vote, which was in the news for prolonged court-battles and violence, are crucial for Mamata Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress, rising force in the state BJP, erstwhile ruling parties CPI(M) and Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Outcome will these parties’ strength in the rural bengal which plays critical role during assembly and Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal. Polling sharply began at 7 am and is scheduled to end at 5 pm. The counting will take place on May 17. The three-tier polls are spread across over 58,000 seats most of which have been reportedly won by TMC without any contest.

Prior to elections Opposition parties have accused TMC of resorting to violence. However, the ruling party has constantly rejected those allegations. CM Banerjee has asked people and political parties participate peacefully in the panchayat elections on Monday even as she asserted her government was doing everything to prevent any untoward incidents during polling. Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy has also expressed hope that the people of West Bengal will be able to cast their vote peacefully during today’s panchayat polls.

Track Live Updates of West Bengal Panchayat election

2:57 PM: TMC and Congress have clashed in Murshidabad. According to reports, unidentified people have looted ballot boxes at gunpoint in Murshidabad.

2:54 PM: TMC workers have allegedly vandalised a voting booth in North Dinajpur’s Sonadangi

2:45 PM: Congress workers have protested outside State Election Commission in Kolkata

2:30 PM: According to State Election Commission (SEC), 41.51% voter turnout has been recorded till 1 pm in West Bengal.

2:05 PM: “The Election Commission of West Bengal must act to restore faith in the process. Else it will be seen as complicit in TMC’s project of destroying democracy. Allowing TMC to get away with throttling democracy has implications well beyond West Bengal,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.

2:00 PM: Journalists were attacked during the West Bengal Panchayat poll

1:55 PM: Meanwhile, according to State Election Commission report, 26.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 11 am in West Bengal.

1:50 PM: WATCH- A vehicle has been vandalised in Raniganj area.

1:45 PM: WATCH: TMC-BJP clash in Durgapur


1:35 pm: West Bengal Minister and senior TMC leader Partha Chatterjee said, “There are minor incidents taking place, no major incidents have been reported. Administration is active in places where such clashes have taken place. Voting is being conducted peaceful. I strongly condemn the attack on journalists.”

1:30 PM: “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 West Bengal,” Union Minister Babul Supriyo said.

11:50 AM: Another bomb blast reported at Amdanga’s Sadhanpur in North 24 Pargana’s. 2O people were injured in the crude bomb explosion.

11:30 AM: West Bengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh, who was caught on cam slapping a BJP supporter, claimed that “BJP agent was trying to run away with ballot box, officers caught hold of him but people said let him go. I just drove people away using my hand, that’s all. TMC hasn’t attacked anyone”.

11:20 AM: Shocking! TMC and BJP supporters clashed in Murshidabad. Following which ballot papers were thrown in a pond and voting has been stopped for now.

11:00 am: BJP candidate in Bilkanda severely injured after being attacked with a knife, allegedly by TMC workers. He is presently undergoing treatment.

Image courtesy- ANI

10:55 AM: Two media persons were attacked at Madarihat in Alipurduar district, according to local media reports.

10:40 AM: BJP candidate in Bilkanda in North 24 Parganas’ Barrackpur was severely injured after being attacked with a knife allegedly by TMC workers. He was undergoing treatment.

10:30 AM: According to Anandabazar Patrika reports, 12 per cent polling till 9 am. TMC Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick has accused BJP and CPI(M) of bringing people from Bangladesh to capture polling booths, according to 24 Ghanta report.

10:20 AM: 102-year-old woman cast her vote at a polling booth in Dantan area of West Midnapore.

10:16 AM: WATCH: West Bengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh has slapped a BJP supporter in Cooch Behar.

10:10 AM: Watch: Locals block road in Bhangar in South 24 Parganas. They alleged TMC workers of capturing the booth.

10:05 AM: State Election Commission has received complains of violence from at least four districts across the state. It has asked the police to take action, according to SEC officials. However, senior minister and TMC leader Jyotipriyo Mullick rejected Opposition’s claims that the TMC supporters are involved in the incidents and accused BJP of terrorising the voters.

10:00 AM: 46,000 personnel of the state police and 12,000 of the Kolkata Police have been deployed.  2,000 security personnel from the departments of excise, prison and forests were also engaged in manning the booths, an SEC official said.

9:50 AM: Two people shot at, bombs hurled in Raiganj. According to Ei Samay reports, TMC supporters were attecked in Madarihat in Alipurduar district and Khanakul in Hooghly district.

9:45 am: According to the SEC sources, today’s elections will be held in 621 zilla parishads and 6,157 panchayat samitis, besides 31,827 gram panchayats. Around 1,500 security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are in the state to reinforce security arrangements for the polls.

9:40 AM: According to West Bengal SEC (State Election Commission) sources, of the 48,650 seats in 3,358 gram panchayats, 16,814 were uncontested and of the 9,217 seats in 341 panchayat samitis, 3,059 were uncontested. In the 20 zilla parishads, 203 of the 825 seats were uncontested, the SEC said.

9:35 AM: Voters were being barred from casting their votes in Birpara in Alipurduar district.

9:30 AM: Violence that erupted prior to Panchayat election, contniues even on the polling day. Accoridng to reports, 20 people injured in a clash which broke out between two groups in Cooch Behar district. The injured have been taken to MJN hospital for treatment. “We went there to votee but people belonging to TMC attacked us with sticks,” locals said.

9:15 AM: CPI (M) worker and his wife charred to death after their house in North 24 Parganas was torched on Sunday night. CPI (M) accused TMC workers of carrying the attack.

9:00 AM: Bombs were hurled in Dinhata in Cooch Behar District, West Bardhaman’s Raniganj

8:55 AM: Voters, who brave hot and humid weather, were seen standing in a queue outside a polling booth in Jalpaiguri’s Ashighar to exercise their franchise

8:50 AM: Violence reported from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district where booth capturing attempt foiled by Police who have fired tear-gas.

8:45 AM: BREAKING from West Bengal Panchayat vote– Reports of violence are coming from areas in North 24 Parganas, Nadia and Paschim Medinipur districts. A BJP polling was allegedly thrashed at Goaltore in Paschim Medinipur. In Shantipur of Nadia, brother of an Indepedent candidate was shot at. Congress has accused that its nominee was beaten in Deganga in North 24 Parganas district, according to Anand Bazar Patrika.

8:40 AM: “I urge people as well as all political parties to remain alert and not pay attention to provocations or canards. I appeal to common people to exercise their democratic right and vote peacefully for the development of rural Bengal. The state administration is with them,” CM Banerjee told a Bengali News Channel.

8:30 AM: “The state administration will play a strong role in tomorrow’s panchayat elections… Nobody will be spared (if found disrupting peace). We have taken strict step against Arabul despite he being a candidate of the Zilla Parishad, because we felt that the matter was not right,” she said.

8:25 AM: “I have information that some people are planning to create problem from (tomorrow) morning using fake videos or using videos of incidents that had happened in Bangladesh or somewhere else in Jharkhand. We will not allow them to spread such things. I urge people not to believe in fake videos,” the TMC Supremo said.

8:20 AM: Voters queued up outside a polling booth in Sirakole village in South 24 Parganas district.

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