The State Election Commission said it has recorded 72.5 per cent voter turnout in the panchayat polls across the 20 districts. The numbers could further add up as the figures were recorded till 5 pm. Those in queues were allowed to cast their mandate beyond the concluding time. 

Reports have claimed that a total of 8 people were killed in poll related violence across Bengal. The deceased were mostly cadres of political parties. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of orchestrating the violence in a bid to rig the elections. "In Bengal, democracy has been totally crushed," said CPI(M chief Sitaram Yechury.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Mamata Banerjee government on the instances of poll violence reported from the state. At least 8 people were confirmed dead in the clashes which erupted during the conduct of the panchayat elections.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury condemned the violence during the conduct of panchayat elections in the state today. Reacting to the death of five individuals, Yechury said this shows "the state of lawlessness in Bengal". Under the TMC regime, he added, "Democracy has been totally crushed".

Congress workers launched a protest outside the office of State Election Commission in Kolkata to protest the violence perpetrated during the polls by alleged TMC cadres.

People vandalised a vehicle in Raniganj area of Asansol during voting for Panchayat Polls in West Bengal.

Five people have been killed in violence amidst West Bengal panchayat polls today. Three CPM workers were killed in separate incidents of violence. A CPM worker, Taibur Gayen in a crude bomb attack allegedly by TMC workers at Panchpota panchayat in Barasat. Similarly, a BJP worker died in a crude bomb attack in Murshidabad's Beldanga. A TMC worker, Arif Gazi, was shot dead today in Meriganj Panchayat at Kultali block in South 24 Parganas.

A Trinamool Congress worker, identified as Arif Gazi, was shot dead in Kutali area of South 24 Parganas district.

In Jalpaiguri, workers of political parties also set ballot boxes on fire in various polling booths.

In Bhangar, at least 20 people have been injured in clashes between the TMC and BJP cadres.

The BJP candidate in Bilkanda, Raju Biswas, was attacked with a knife by alleged TMC workers. Biswas was rushed to a local medical facility where is being treated. Here are the visuals shared by ANI:

Locals have accused the ruling Trinamool cadres of capturing a booth in Bhangar. Clashes were also reported in the district between the TMC and Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee cadres.

TMC Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh slapped a person identified as BJP supporter in Cooch Behar's booth no. 8/12. Police officials were present at the spot. Here is the video of the incident:

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Kolkata, May 14: Elections to the rural local bodies are being conducted across 20 districts of West Bengal. According to the State Election Commission (SEC), polls are underway in 621 zilla parishads, 6,157 seats in 341 panchayat samiti seats, besides 31,827 seats in 3,385 gram panchayats. Stay tuned here for all the live news and updates related to the elections which are underway.

The SEC had earlier notified polling in over 58,500 rural seats across the state. However, elections could not be conducted in 203 zilla parishads, 3,059 seats in panchayat samitis and 16,814 gram panchayat seats due to no Opposition candidate in the fray. The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) was declared winner unopposed on April 23. However, the Supreme Court, in the past week, restrained the SEC from issuing a notification on results from the seats where no elections will be held.

The state government has deployed 46,000 personnel of the West Bengal police and 12,000 of the Kolkata Police to man over 58,500 booths where voting was scheduled to be conducted. Additional 1,500 security personnel were also sought from neighbouring Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh.

The run-up to the panchayat polls witnessed a trail of violence, with two deaths reported and dozens of political workers being injured.

The Opposition also took the battle to the court. The Supreme Court was first petitioned in March by the Congress and BJP, seeking central deployment of forces for the conduct of polls. The apex court, however, had struck down the appeal.

The Opposition pleaded the judiciary again in mid-April. The Calcutta High Court was petitioned by the BJP seeking countermanding of the rural elections, alleging "the ruling TMC cadres prevented the Opposition to file nominations".

Calcutta HC, taking prima facie cognizance of the violence reported, ordered the SEC to re-allow the filing of nominations till an extended date of April 23.

The Opposition moved the court again, alleging "armed TMC workers with swords" prevented the filing of nominations by their candidates in Birbhum and Malda -- the two districts where the Trinamool "won" without a contest.

The Calcutta HC directed the SEC to accept the nominations via emails. The order, however, was annulled by the Supreme Court, which instead directed the Commission to not to issue the notification of results for the uncontested seats till July 3.

Meanwhile, the results of panchayat elections from the remaining 66 per cent seats -- where the Opposition candidates are in the fray -- would be declared on May 17.