Post poll clashes rock Bengal
Kolkata: After 12 persons were killed in widespread violence during the West Bengal Panchayat election a day ago, post poll clashes continue to rock parts of the state on Tuesday.
The state administration, however, claimed only six of those deaths were poll-related, State Election Commission (SEC) said.
"According to the report received from the state administration, 12 deaths are reported on the polling day on Monday. Among them six are poll-related deaths, while the rest were due to different reasons," SEC Secretary Nilanjan Shandilya told IANS.
Post poll violence was reported from parts of Howrah district where bombs were hurled in at least 20 houses during a clash between Trinamool Congress workers and BJP activists.
A few vehicles were also vandalised and torched.
Sporadic incidents of violence took place in South and North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts late on Monday.
The single-phase rural polls in the state on Monday saw large scale violence and clashes between opposing political outfits throughout the day even as more than 60,000 armed personnel and 80,000 civic volunteers were deployed to guard close to 58,000 polling booths.
As the day progressed, reports of clashes, booth capturing, vandalising of ballot boxes and rigging were received from pockets of South and North 24 Parganas, North Dinajpur, Nadia, West Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts.
In several places, gun-toting goons attacked policemen on duty at polling premises, leaving at least two police officers severely injured. Several attempts to rig the election process were also reported across the state as miscreants poured water into ballot boxes or set them on fire.
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.
He said two Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) workers died in Nandigram in East Midnapore district and a Jharkhand Disom Party worker died in Kushmundi of South Dinajpur.
The opposition parties accused the Trinamool Congress of orchestrating unprecedented terror on the polling day and alleged the SEC and state administration completely failed to conduct a free and fair election.
Representatives of CPI-M held a protest demonstration outside the SEC office on Monday evening demanding an answer from the poll panel about the adverse situations across the state.
The state's ruling Trinamool Congress, however, claimed that the people were able to exercise their democratic rights and said the situation was well handled barring a few isolated incidents.
It accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of bringing in people from Bangladesh, Assam and Jharkhand with the help of Border Security Force personnel on the polling day to create unrest.
Voting for the rural bodies in West Bengal was to be held on May 1, 3 and 5, but as the nomination process started in April, it was rescheduled to May 14 by the SEC following a Calcutta High Court order to extend the nomination deadline and announce a fresh polling date.