Violence In WB Continues, Claims 6 More Lives; 573 Booths Go For Repoll

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New Delhi:State election commission (SEC) of the West Bengal ordered re-election in 573 booths spread across 19 out of 20 districts where panchayatpolls took place on Monday. The re-poll will be held on Wednesday. However, the violence is still continuing in pockets of West Bengal.

While leaving his office late on Tuesday evening, Bengal’s chief election commissioner A K Singh broke his silence on Monday’s deaths that, according to political parties, stood at not less than 20. “According to official police records only six people died during polling. Four other deaths were not related to election. The deaths reported after polling are being investigated.” said Singh.

Asked whether he was satisfied with security arrangements made on Monday, Singh said, “Why ask now?”

Asked whether he was satisfied with security arrangements planned for the re-poll, he said, “What’s the point in telling now?”

Singh’s replies drew sharp criticism from opposition parties. “The chief election commissioner is acting like a stooge of the state government and not like a constitutional authority,” alleged BJP state general secretary Raju Banerjee.

Jhargram is the only district where polling was not ordered till late Tuesday evening. With 73 booths going to the polls again, North Dinajpur district in north Bengal topped the least while Alipurduar was at the bottom with only two booths.

Since 34 per cent seats spread across gram panchayat, panchayatsamiti and zillaparishad was won by ruling Trinamool Congress without contest, polling was held in 47,100 booths in the state on Monday.

Never before had re-poll been ordered in close to 600 booths in Bengal in the past, said SEC officials. Opposition parties however found no solace in this.

“It is also a fact that never before had election been turned into a complete farce. Television footages of policemen watching Trinamool goons carrying away ballot boxes or casting false votes stand as proof. Democracy was killed,” alleged CPI(M) politburo member and LokSabha MP, MdSalim.

Opposition parties alleged before the SEC on Tuesday that at least 20 people were killed on Monday and demanded re-poll in thousands of booths.

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