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West Bengal panchayat polls: SEC orders repolling in 568 booths

KOLKATA

The West Bengal State Election Commission today ordered repolling in 568 booths on Wednesday following complaints of violence during the pancahayat polls held on Monday. “We have ordered repolling in 568 booths spread across 20 districts of the state,” an SEC official said.

Widespread violence during the panchayat polls in West Bengal on Monday left at least 12 people dead and 43 injured.

The state government and the police have been asked to make elaborate security arrangements so that polling can be held in a free and fair manner, the SEC official said.

Repolling has been ordered in 10 booths in Hooghly, 28 booths in West Midnapore, 52 booths in Coochbehar, 63 booths in Murshidabad, 60 booths in Nadia, 59 booths in North 24 Parganas, 55 booths in Malda, 73 booths in Uttar Dinajpur, 26 in South 24 Pargans, among others.

The SEC official also said that the final voting percentage had gone up to 82.13 per cent from 73 per cent.

Opposition parties have accused the TMC of “unleashing a reign of terror and destroying democracy”. The TMC, however, has termed the allegations as “baseless”.

Aggrieved by the violence that marked Monday’s panchayat polls in West Bengal, several candidates in the fray, met State Election Commission or SEC officials and demanded repolling in their booths.

“I have come here to inform the SEC about yesterday’s violence in my locality. Free and fair election did not take place in my area,” said Etajul, an independent candidate from Bhangore in South 24 Parganas district.

Candidates from political parties also met the SEC officials to request re-poll in their seats.

Various non-political organizations conducted sit-in demonstrations outside the SEC office today in protest against Monday’s violence.

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