Stay tuned as Sumedha Kirti brings you LIVE updates:
RECAP | The death toll in poll related violence has risen to eight with the death of an Independent candidate in Murshidabad's Nawda. The leader was shot dead by unidentified miscreants.
Muti-coloured political character! In a desperate bid to shame Bengal and knowing they will be defeated-- now BJP, CPIM gang up with Maoists. Nothing will work. The people of Bengal were, are and will be with Trinamool : Derek— AITC (@AITCofficial) May 14, 2018
Trinamool Congress blames BSF for "interfering" in polls, asks them if they are working at the behest of BJP leaders. They also slam news agency ANI for spreading 'rumours'.
Why is BSF interfering in #Bengal #PanchayatElection in Dakshin Dinajpur and other border districts? Are BSF govt employees or BJP employees? Have they been told to help #BJP? Reminder: law and order is a State subject.— AITC (@AITCofficial) May 14, 2018
Why is @ANI spreading rumours and amplifying a few, sporadic, local incidents? We learn that local ANI reporters and stringers getting direct instructions from their bosses in Delhi to shame #Bengal. Agenda driven news-gathering: Derek O'Brien #PanchayatElection— AITC (@AITCofficial) May 14, 2018
Hitting out at opposition parties for "derailing polls", TMC leader Partha Chatterjee says, "Opposition party leaders are responsible for violence across the state. A TMC leader was killed. We believe in fair polls and, therefore, we got our own leader arrested for indulging in clashes in Bhangar area in South 24 Parganas."
Meanwhile, BJP Union minister Babul Supriyo blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress government for the poll violence and demanded President's rule.
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 WB: Babul Supriyo, Union Min on violence in various during #PanchayatElection pic.twitter.com/ElEr4OSbaf— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Hitting out at CPI(M) and BJP over panchayat poll violence, TMC MP Derek O'Brien tweets, "CPI(M) and BJP are now so desperate that they are even ganging up with Maoists to kill/ shoot/ stab three Trinamool workers in different incidents in Bengal today."
To all 'newborn' experts on Bengal #PanchayatElections in State have a history. 400 killed in poll violence in 1990s in CPIM rule. 2003: 40 dead.Every death is a tragedy. Now closer to normal than earlier times.Yes, few dozen incidents. Say,40 out of 58000 booths. What's %age ?— Derek O'Brien (@derekobrienmp) May 14, 2018
CPI(M) and BJP are now so desperate that they are even ganging up with Maoists to kill/shoot/stab three Trinamool workers in different incidents in #Bengal today. Deliberately trying to foment trouble. Is this democracy? #PanchayatElection— Derek O'Brien (@derekobrienmp) May 14, 2018
As voting closes in booth number 36 of Burdwan district's Goyalpokar, a polling officer says that more security should have been provided, and separate queues for men and women should have been made. Only one police officer was appointed at the booth.
The loss of lives continue in West Bengal as a sixth person has died. A student, identified as Soujit Pramanik, was alleged lynched to death by villagers in Nadia district's Shantipur. The deceased, who was associated with TMC, had reportedly gone to capture a booth along with two workers, which enraged the local residents. His family claims that he had joined TMC "in hope of bagging a job".
Ballot papers thrown in a pond after a clash that broke out between TMC and BJP workers in Murshidabad, following which voting has been stopped.
#WestBengal: Ballot papers thrown in a pond after a clash that broke out between TMC & BJP in Murshidabad. Following which voting has been stopped for now. #PanchayatElection pic.twitter.com/0kcQSz4izl— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Booth number 180 of North 24 Parganas's Amdanga Panchpota has been allegedly captured and people are not being allowed to vote. A CPI(M) was also killed during bombing in the area and two others were injured. Another TMC worker, Arif Ali, was shot dead in South 24 Parganas, while a BJP worker was killed in Murshidabad.
As clashes broke between Congress and BJP workers in Malda district's Ratua, a group of voters approached media personnel and said that miscreants were roaming with pistols and a man, who had gone out to vote, was held at gunpoint by them. They said that they are forced to "boycott" voting as it is "unsafe" for them to go to violence-hit booths.
RECAP | Two days before the panchayat election in the state, police arrested three persons including two BJP leaders for allegedly possessing Rs 10 lakh in cash in the district. Superintendent of Police Avaru Rabindranath said the three were arrested from a hotel here and the unaccounted cash has been seized. The arrested persons included BJP Jalpaiguri district secretary Shubhankar Ghosh and Alipurduar district leader Raju Ghosh. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the money belonged to the party and it would be informed to the state Election Commission.
[IN PICS] Around 12.2% voting has been recorded in #BengalPanchayatPolls even as political violence continues to spread. Bengal development minister Rabindranath Ghosh slaps a worker at Natabari booth. State election commission seeks report#LIVE: https://t.co/Wm4fJiuy28 pic.twitter.com/UiYW5HdAlE— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 14, 2018
"I have not slapped him. I just tried to stop him as he was trying to escape with ballot box," TMC Minister Rabindranath Ghosh tells CNN-News18.
#BengalPanchayatPolls -- I have not slapped him. I just tried to stop him as he was trying to escape with ballot box: TMC Minister Rabindranath Ghosh tells CNN-News18#LIVE: https://t.co/dY896nnxXI pic.twitter.com/O3EPjlIqtu— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 14, 2018
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".
A file image of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. (Photo: PTI)
Within less than two hours after the polling began, the State Election Commission has received complains of violence from at least four districts from different parts the state and has asked the police to take action, SEC officials said. The SEC is conducting the panchayat election.
Violence broke out in North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar and South 24 Parganas districts. In North 24 Parganas, the BJP accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of letting loose a reign of terror in several parts of the district, especially in Amdanga area. A few people were injured when clashes broke out between two groups, SEC sources said.
Senior minister Jyotipriyo Mullick denied the involvement of the TMC in the incident and accused BJP of terrorising the voters. In Dinhata area of Coochbehar district in North Bengal, a few voters were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, the sources said.
The voters later on lodged a police complaint. Violence was reported in Burdwan districts too. The opposition CPI(M) and BJP had accused the TMC of terrorizing voters and hurling bombs outside polling stations. The TMC has termed the allegations as baseless.
After a protracted legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the Sec, the TMC and the opposition parties, the three-tier panchayat polls in is being held in the state.
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