West Bengal Panchayat Polls: At least 15 dead in violence

TMC leader Derek O'Brien

Killings, bombing and booth capturing by firearms wielding political goons turned West Bengal's three-tier panchayat polls into a bloodied affair on Monday as violence claimed 18 lives, according to a local television channel. 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 PM 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.

SEC official confirms that the re-polling will start at 7 am in the morning and will end at 5 pm.

"The re-polling is being held in 568 panchayat election booths spread across 20 districts of the state", an official said.

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The BDOs and SDOs of blocks where repoll will take place have been advised to make announcements on loudspeakers. He said that it was a matter of grave concern and was against the concept of democracy.

Additional Director General of West Bengal Police Anuj Sharma on Monday said Trinamool activist Arif Ali Gazi died in poll-related violence in South 24 Parganas while two other workers of the party died in Nadia. Ballot boxes were found in ponds...innocent party workers, not only of BJP, were killed. People from all parties except one ruling the state have suffered. You all can say that it is going to affect the whole thing of election and the government didn't accept that.

He was addressing workers at the BJP central office here after the BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the Karnataka Assembly polls. From the nomination stage to the day of polling, where was the spirit of democracy? Modi asked, adding, "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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