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MHA Seeks Report From Bengal on Panchayat Poll Violence That Killed 12; State Says 'Peaceful Elections'

MHA’s intervention came after a BJP delegation from Bengal led by state BJP President Dilip Ghosh met West Bengal Governor KN Tripathi to complain about the violence that killed 12 people.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:May 14, 2018, 11:04 PM IST
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MHA Seeks Report From Bengal on Panchayat Poll Violence That Killed 12; State Says 'Peaceful Elections'
People injured in poll violence sit by the side of a road as a vehicle is set on fire by locals during panchayat polls in Nadia district of West Bengal on Monday. (PTI Photo)
Kolkata: Taking note of the panchayat poll violence in Bengal that left at least 12 dead and over 70 injured, the Union Home Ministry on Monday evening sought a report from the West Bengal government.

Speaking to News18, an MHA spokesperson, said, “Yes we have asked for a detailed report on the Bengal panchayat Poll violence from the state Chief Secretary and also sought a report on the security measures that they had taken during the election process.”

MHA’s intervention came after a BJP delegation from Bengal led by state BJP President Dilip Ghosh met West Bengal Governor KN Tripathi to complain about the violence.

“We met the governor and told him how our supporters were beaten up, killed and not allowed to cast their votes. Everywhere, Trinamool workers were involved in large-scale crimes,” Ghosh said.

Polling started at 7 am and voters queued up till 5 pm. According to Election Commission sources, voting percentage was 72.5% till 5 pm.

Since morning, despite Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal for peaceful polls, incidents of violence kept coming in from various parts of Bengal.

Incidents of booth capturing and other strong-arm tactics to intimidate voters were seen at Nadia, Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, Egra in Paschim Medinipur, Mohammedbazar in Birbhum and Dinhata in Cooch Behar.

Nearly 71,000 security personnel from West Bengal and neighbouring states were deployed for the panchayat polls.

State BJP secretary Sayantan Basu said, “We lost one of our active members in Murshidabad’s Sujapur village. He was shot dead near a polling booth by TMC goons.”

While the polling was underway, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh slapped a BJP agent outside a polling booth in Cooch Behar district. Later, BJP lodged a complaint with the State Election Commission (SEC) on this.

In East Midnapore’s Contai area, chilli powder was thrown at an Independent candidate and four others at a polling booth while in Birbhum and South 24-Parganas’s Basanti Block, masked men were seen carrying pistols and iron rods inside the polling booths in an apparent bid to terrorise voters.

In Malda, the office-in-charge of Ratua police station Debabrata Chakraborty suffered severe head injuries after being attacked with bricks. He was admitted to a nearby hospital.

CPI(M) legislature Sujan Chakraborty said, “The ruling party indulged in mass violence and killings during the panchayat polls today. The democratic rights of people were taken away by the TMC goons. The state EC completely failed to ensure a peaceful election.”

However, rubbishing all charges, Bengal minister Partha Chaterjee said, “Except a few stray incidents, the panchayat poll went off peacefully.”

DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha, said, “There were six poll-related deaths today which is much less than last year poll. In 2013, 25 people died in poll violence.”

The panchayat election assumes significance as it is the last major poll in the state before the 2019 general elections.

Polling took place in nearly 38,500 seats while there are 58,692 panchayat seats in Bengal. Since 34% has already been won by TMC unopposed, voting were held in nearly 38,500 seats.

There are a total of 3,354 gram panchayats, 9,240 seats in 341 panchayat samitis and 825 seats in 20 zilla parishads across the 20 districts of Bengal.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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