Following the announcement of the election dates, various episodes of violence were reported from the state, claiming the lives of at least 15 individuals.
According to authorities, at least eleven persons have been murdered in West Bengal panchayat election violence since midnight. Voting for 73,887 seats in the state began at 7 a.m. today. Among those slain were five TMC members, one BJP, CPI(M), and Congress worker, and an Independent candidate supporter. Aside from the violent conflicts that left many people hurt, vote boxes were smashed in at least two voting stations. In the state’s rural parts, around 5.67 crore individuals are eligible to vote. For the elections, at least 600 companies of central troops have been deployed, along with around 70,000 state police.
Darjeeling and Kalimpong have a two-tier structure with Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and Siliguri Sub-divisional Council at the top, with 63,229-gram panchayat seats and 9,730 panchayat samiti seats in 22 districts and 928 zilla parishad seats in 20 districts. Long lines were visible outside voting booths as early as 6 a.m., with many turning out early despite the sporadic rain.
Two toddlers were hurt in a blast in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district after picking up a homemade bomb off the roadside and mistaking it for a ball. The event occurred in Bhangor during the state’s panchayat elections. He said the two youngsters, ages 8 and 10, were taken to the hospital.
“The two kids mistook the crude bomb for a ball, and it exploded when one of them touched it.” “Security forces were sent to the area to see if there were any more bombs,” an official added.
Sudhanshu Trivedi, BJP spokesman, and Rajya Sabha member, told reporters that the state was once a hotbed of art, culture, and science. It is now notorious for “crimes, anti-national activities, and dangerous appeasement.”
He said that the administration of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was enabling criminals to commit violence during the polls by providing them with security.