Police lathicharge as voters protest delay in poll process

Bengal panchayat repolling

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hit out at the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal over violence during the panchayat elections in the state, saying democracy was "murdered" for narrow political interests. No untoward incident has been reported so far. The miscreants were also armed with guns. In booth no. 36/37, the crowd protested after voting process started late.

Polling was high with as much as 82.13% of the electorate turning up to cast their vote, according to a statement issued by the state election commission.

At least 10 people were killed and over 50 injured on Monday after the rural polls witnessed intense violence.

SEC sources said the re-polling would be held at 73 booths in North Dinajpur district, 63 in Murshidabad, 60 in Nadia, 59 in North 24 Parganas, 55 in Malda and 52 in Cooch Behar.

West Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) ordered re-polling on May 16 in 568 booths in 19 of 20 districts following demands by Opposition parties and reports of sporadic political violence that claims 26 lives in the past two days.

The poll panel has asked the state government and the police to make elaborate security arrangements so that polling can be held in a free and fair manner.

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Repolling will be held from 7 am till 5 pm. "The counting will take place tomorrow (on May 17)", the SEC officials said. He also said, it is a matter of serious concern that people were not allowed to file nominations.

The deceased workers and supporters are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the CPI-M and the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

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.

"The way democracy was murdered. from (filing of) nominations to polling, democracy had no place", he said.

"It is not just about winning elections". It is not about who wins polls....all those who are democratic minded, including friends in civil society, they must come together to strengthen democratic spirit.

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