TMC workers barring voters from casting votes

Police personal stand in queue to collect their duty schedule for the upcoming panchayet elections at Sukna on the outskirts of Siliguri on Friday | AFP

Trinamool Congress leader and Minister for North Bengal development Rabindranath Ghosh was caught on camera slapping a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter in Cooch Behar district. The State Election Commission has sought a report on the incident from the polling booth official.

In Panskura of East Medinipur armed miscreants virtually took control at Gobindapur's 47 booth in presence of armed security personnel depriving the genuine voters of casting ballot. Trinamool Congress worker Arif Ali Gaji allegedly succumbed to his injuries in South 24 Parganas Kultali after allegedly shot by SUCI workers. They also accused the ruling Trinamool for unleashing a reign of terror during the nomination process for the polls.

Considering the history of violence in the state panchayat polls, elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order during the polling. When asked about the incident, Ghosh replied that was just trying to drive people away as they were telling the police to let a BJP supporter go, who was trying to run away with a ballot box.

Amid intense violence, the opposition parties accused the State Election Commission (SEC) of not providing enabling environment for their candidates to file nominations.

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According to the State Election Commission (SEC) sources, today's elections are being held in 621 zilla parishads and 6,157 panchayat samitis, besides 31,827 gram panchayats. He, in fact, went on saying that the Opposition parties in the state were 'ganging up with Maoists to kill/shoot/stab three Trinamool workers in different incidents in Bengal today.'‏. Polling was started at seven o'clock in the morning, and it will be followed till 5 PM. There was a fast campaign for Panchayat elections in one phase.

Marked by Violence and clashes between the political parties, the date of filing of nominations was extended till April 23. "We have taken strict step against Arabul despite him being a candidate of the Zilla Parishad, because we felt that the matter was not right", she said.

Around 1,500 security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are in the state for the voting in addition to the almost 58,000 security personnel of the state police.

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