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West Bengal: Moderate voting during the third phase of panchayat polls
Over, 37,500 candidates are in the fray, with the main contest likely to be between the TMC and the CPI-M led Left Front.
Kolkata: Sporadic violence on Friday marked the third phase of panchayat elections in West Bengal covering three districts of Howrah, North 24-Parganas and South 24-Parganas where an average 25 per cent polling was recorded in the first four hours of voting.
SEC secretary Tapas Ray said the voting process remained by and large peaceful till noon except for stray violence.
"We are getting reports of sporadic violence and scuffles in some places, especially at Amata and Panchla in Howrah and in some parts of North 24-Parganas district," Ray said.
He said that some crude bombs were hurled in Amata and Panchla.
Minor incidents of violence were also reported in North 24-Parganas district in which bombs were hurled in front of some booths, which led to temporary disruption of the voting process.
In the trouble-prone areas of Bhangar and Canning in South 24-Parganas district, some CPI(M) agents were badly beaten up, the police said.
SEC officials said that till 11 am, 26.91 per cent votes were cast in Howrah, 25.10 per cent in North 24-Parganas district and 24.31 per cent in South 24-Parganas district.
The CPI(M), which had threatened to organise sit-in demonstrations and road blockades if violence occurred in rural Bengal, blocked roads at various places in and around the metropolis.
"In several areas, the people are not allowed to vote freely. Hundreds of Trinamool Congress goons have come from East Midnapore district and are now on the roads of North and South 24-Pargans district to stop people from voting," alleged Nepal Deb Bhattacharjee, CPI(M) state committee member.
CPI(M) supporters blocked important roads in Naihati, Shyamnagar and B T Road crossing.