Four people were killed and several others injured in violence during the single phase panchayat elections in West Bengal, which recorded over 41 per cent polling till 1 pm, officials said. The polling for electing 38,616 representatives across three tiers of state (rural) bodies started at 7 a.m. and would continue till 5 p.m. According to the State Election Commission (SEC), 12.2 per cent votes were cast in the initial two hours of polling till 9 a.m.
Reports of clashes and booth capturing were received from pockets of South 24 Parganas, West Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts.
In South 24 Parnagas' Bhangar the 'Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee' accused armed miscreants of Trinamool Congress of kidnapping their Panchayat Samiti candidate Sariful Mullick and terrorising the voters.
Reportedly, one person was killed and three others were injured in South Dinajpur district's Tapan area after a bomb was hurled outside a polling station. The police are yet to confirm the death.
"We have received a report that four persons were injured. Out of them, one has died. The district police superintendent is yet to confirm the death," an SEC official said.
02:50 pm: In North Dinajpur district, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from district headquarter Raiganj, police said. Of the three bombs, two were found on railway tracks, affecting movement of trains, RPF sources said, adding that the bomb squad has been informed.
02:35 pm: Four people were killed and several others injured in violence during the single phase panchayat elections in West Bengal, which recorded over 41 per cent polling till 1 pm. The four were killed in separate incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad districts.
01:09 pm: There are minor incidents taking place, no major incidents have been reported. Administration is active in places where such clashes have taken place. Voting is being conducted peaceful. I strongly condemn the attack on journalists: Partha Chatterjee, TMC
01:01 pm: Not surprised by all the incidents that are happening since morning. Bengal govt is a shameless govt, you cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour. I demand President's Rule in WB: Babul Supriyo, Union Minister
12:33 pm: Twenty-seven-year-old Sanjit Pramanik in Santipur of Nadia district dies of bullet injuries received during clashes. The death toll in poll-related violence on Monday rises to three.
12:01 pm: TMC workers across the state have been alleged of booth capturing, setting ballot papers on fire, bomb blasts in several areas.
11:57 am: 26 per cent polling till 11 am, according to state CEC.
11:52 pm: At least 20 people have been injured after a crude bomb explosion in Amdanga's Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas.
11:34 am: In the Bhangar area of the same district, police resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a crowd, following clashes. The SEC has asked the police to submit a report regarding the incident.
09:19 am: 20 people, including an Trinamool Congress candidate are reportedly injured in a low-intensity blast in Shutkabari in Cooch Behar district. One woman was seriously injured in the blast, which took place during clashes between the TMC candidate and an independent.
09:14 am: Pre-poll surveys have predicted that the coming rural elections could provide an emphatic answer to the questions, with the BJP predicted to leave the Left Front and the Congress far behind and emerge as the main rival to the Trinamool -- which, the surveys claims, would walk away with the bulk of the seats at all three levels -- panchayat, panchayat samiti and the zila parishad.
09:12 am: Violence broke out in North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar and South 24 Parganas districts. In North 24 Parganas, the BJP accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of letting loose a reign of terror in several parts of the district, especially in Amdanga area.
09:10 am: A few people were injured when clashes broke out between two groups, SEC sources said.
09:07 am: Around 1,500 security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh are in the state to reinforce security arrangements for the polls. They will aid around 46,000 personnel of the state police and 12,000 of the Kolkata Police, while the state government would use close to 2,000 security personnel from the departments of excise, prison and forests in manning the booths. Security forces conducted route marches on Sunday in various parts of the state as part of security arrangements.
08:30 am: In Suktabari area of Cooch Behar district, a woman voter was injured and taken to a hospital when she was caught in a clash between supporters of Trinamool and an independent candidate.
06:38 am: The three-tier polls, spread across over 58,000 seats scheduled for tomorrow, have several instances where a father is pitted against his son, a mother is being challenged by her daughter, a son-in-law is taking on his father-in-law and a brother is slugging it out in the poll battlefield against his sister.
06:35 am: The filing of nominations, which was held from April 2 to April 9 and then again on an extended date on April 23, was marked by violence and clashes between the ruling TMC and opposition parties that led to several deaths.