WB Panchayat polls: SEC orders repoll in 568 booths tomorrow

West Bengal panchayat polls State election body orders re-election in 568 booths after violence

Aggrieved by the violence that marked the panchayat poll in West Bengal which claimed at least 12 lives and left 43 injured, several candidates who were in the fray had met the SEC officials and demanded the repolling. Earlier in the day, the West Bengal Police and Rapid Action Force personnel baton-charged voters in the area after they started protesting as the voting process started late.

The Bengal election commission has ordered repolling in 573 booths in 19 of the state's 20 districts on Wednesday, the largest such exercise in recent memory mirroring the scale of violence and malpractices during Monday's rural elections.

Uttar Dinajpur has the most booths (73) where the re-election will be conducted, followed by Murshidabad (63) and Nadia (60) while Aliporeduar (2) and West Burwan (3) have the least number of booths where repolling will be held. Voting began at 7 am and will end at 5 PM.

He said two Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) workers died in Nandigram in East Midnapore district and a Jharkhand Disom Party worker died in Kushmundi of South Dinajpur.

The BDOs and SDOs of blocks where repoll will take place have been advised to make announcements on loudspeakers.

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On Monday, PM Modi speaking at the BJP headquarters slammed the Mamata government over the West Bengal Panchayat violence calling it a "murder of democracy".

"People weren't allowed to file nominations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before questioning us, should answer on the anarchy that his party has created throughout the country", TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.

Addressing BJP workers in New Delhi last evening, Mr Modi said, it is unfortunate that a land as great as West Bengal has to see such sights. A supporter of an Independent candidate, Shaheen Sheikh, was killed at Nowda and a BJP supporter, Tapan Mondal, was murdered at Beldanga, both in Murshidabad. Democracy was throttled at every stage from filing nomination to the polling day. Modi asked, adding, "It is not just about winning elections".

All parties, the civil society and the judiciary will have to play an active role.

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