But the day turned bloody as panchayat polls were held in 66 per cent of the state’s seats, with reports of large scale violence claiming 13 lives across West Bengal.
“The role of the State Election Commission has been obnoxious and the distinction between the TMC, the state government and the SEC has been completely obliterated”, Yechury said in a statement. “But we will be persistent in our demand”, Ghosh said. The State Election Commission challenged Calcutta High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court, which later stayed the Calcutta High Court order of accepting the nominations submitted via email by 3pm on April 23.
A CPI-M worker and his wife were charred to death after their house was set on fire in South 24 Parganas, reports said.
Another person died in clashes between two groups in Nakashipara area in Nadia. In many cases voters were not allowed to exercise their franchise and the police acted like spectators, they complained. Malda and Murshidabad, too, saw violent scenes outside poll booths as two innocent voters succumbed to bullet injuries and seven others were hospitalised following a splinter injury.
A CPI (M) supporter was killed and another was injured when bombs were hurled outside a station in Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas, the official said.
“We have heard of the incident but it is not confirmed yet”. A police team has been rushed to the spot. Two more CPM supporters were shot dead in Nandigram, East Midnapore district on Monday, the party said, slamming the election in a statement as “cold blooded murder of democracy”. The deaths were divided across parties, with Trinamool claiming at least four of the dead as its own. Chakraborty has been admitted to a hospital, he said. The voting will continue till 5 p.m.in 621 zilla parishads, 6157 panchayat samitis, and 31,827 gram panchayats. The deaths have been reported in the separate incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad districts of the state. The Minister, however, denied all allegations.
Both had assured the court last week of holding peaceful elections, with the poll panel expressing satisfaction with the security arrangements of the state government and saying central forces were not needed. Polling to elect 38,616 representatives across three tiers to panchayat (rural) bodies started at 7 am on Monday, and by 3 pm, a voter turnout of around 56 per cent was recorded. The party then went on to win 34 of the 42 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, before securing a landslide win in the 2016 Assembly elections, where it garnered 211 of the 294 seats.