West Bengal Panchayat election 2018 continues to witness unabated violence, strong-arm tactics and polling which is far from being fair. After news of bloodshed and deaths dominated the headlines on the polling day on May 15, similar incidents were reported from the streets of rural West Bengal today as re-polling got underway at 568 booths across the state. One such event was caught on camera when unidentified miscreants managed to escape with a ballot box from polling booth no. 76 in Malda’s Ratua brandishing a gun. The person, who allegedly filmed the incident, claimed that he was also thrashed. On May 15, West Bengal Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha had informed the media that 18 people were killed during the polling.
According to reports, repolling is taking place at booths where violence was reported and State Election Commission (SEC) received complaints. These booths are spread across 20 districts of the state. The polling is underway amid tight security, according to SEC officials. The repolling began at 7 am and is scheduled to end at 5 pm. The counting will take place on May 17. The repolling 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 Parganas among others, officials said.
Watch this video
#WATCH: Unidentified miscreants escape with a ballot box from polling booth no. 76 in Malda’s Ratua also brandish a gun. The person who shot the video claimed that he was later threatened by the miscreants #PanchayatElections #WestBengal pic.twitter.com/9t2wdUuGI9
— ANI (@ANI) May 16, 2018
While Opposition parties have claimed that ruling Trinamool Congress goons were behind this violence, a battery of Mamata Banerjee’s party leaders has outrightly rejected the charges accusing BJP and CPI(M) of attacking their supporters. The rural polls were held after a protracted legal battle in the Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court involving the State Election Commission, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition parties.