Violence mars civic polls in West Bengal

Wednesday 02nd March 2022 05:52 EST

Kolkata: Cases of violence and malpractices marred polls to 107 municipalities across West Bengal on Sunday, even as a voter turnout of around 76.5% was recorded till 5 pm, election officials said.
Elections were scheduled in 108 municipalities. However, with TMC winning one civic body uncontested in Dinhata in Coochbehar, polls were held in 107 towns on Sunday, a state Election Commission official said.

Opposition BJP, which dubbed the poll process as a “mockery of democracy” has called a 12-hour shutdown to protest the violence. TMC dubbed the allegations as baseless and said opposition parties are trying to find excuses sensing defeat.

Till 5 pm, 76% of 95,60,000 voters exercised their franchise in more than 2,000 wards amid tight security and strict adherence to Covid guidelines. “There have been reports of sporadic incidents of violence. There have been some complaints. We noted disturbances in a few areas and took action,” the official.

West Bengal DGP Manoj Malaviya said the polls have been peaceful as there have been “no reports of deaths or shot being fired”. However, widespread violence, rigging incidents and clashes with police were reported from various parts of Bengal. West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has summoned state Election Commissioner Saurav Das to brief him on the situation.

Congress activists clashed with the police at Dalkhola in North Dinajpur district in north Bengal over allegations of rigging by TMC supporters in the area. They blocked roads and pelted stones at police officers, following which police resorted to baton charge to disperse the mob. Violence and clashes were also reported in Dhulian municipality area in Murshidabad.

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