Kolkata, May 14: Instances of violence were reported from West Bengal in the first couple of hours of polling which began across 20 districts for the rural local bodies. From Birpara, a video emerged showing alleged Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers barring voters from entering the polling booth.
The miscreants, welding sticks, turned away voters who were moving to the booths to exercise their right to franchise. As seen in the clip, one of the voters, who insisted on entering the booth, was threatened to be assaulted.
Here is video clip of alleged TMC workers threatening voters in Birpara:
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
In the polls underway, a total of 621 zilla parishads are being contested, along with 6,157 seats in 341 panchayat samiti seats and 31,827 seats in 3,385 gram panchayats.
Before the voting began, a minor bomb was exploded by unidentified political workers in Asansol, reports said. In Bhangar, clashes were reported between the ruling TMC cadres and activists of the Jiban Jibika Raksha Committee.
In North 24 Parganas, a CPI(M) worker and his wife were charred to death last night. Locals alleged the deceased's house was set on fire by Trinamool workers.
In the run-up to the elections, the Opposition - Congress, BJP and Left Front - had petitioned the Supreme Court, along with the Calcutta High Court, seeking countermanding of the rural polls scheduled by the State Election Commission.
The Opposition charged the state police and SEC officials of woking on behest of the ruling TMC. To support their argument, the petitioners cited the uncontested victory of TMC in over 18,000 rural body seats or 34 per cent of the total seats notified to be contested, as no other candidate was "allowed" to file their nominations.
The Supreme Court, in the past week, had directed the SEC to refrain from issuing a notification on results from those seats where no Opposition candidate entered the fray.