Kolkata, May 16, 2018 : Unidentified miscreants ran away with ballot boxes from a polling booth in Malda district on Wednesday morning, as repolling was underway in 568 booths across West Bengal. Reports of violence also emerged from some parts, with Rapid Action Force (RAF) and police baton charging on the crowd.
The incident took place in polling booth no. 76 in Malda’s Ratua, reported news agency ANI. The miscreants were also armed with guns.
Meanwhile, the police baton charged on people in Uttar Dinajpur district’s Goalpokhar as a crowd-control measure during the ongoing voting process. In booth no. 36/37, the crowd protested after voting process started late.
Repolling in 568 booths across West Bengal, from where the State Election Commission (SEC)received complaints of violence during the panchayat poll, began today amid tight security. The booths where repolling is being held are spread in all the 20 districts of the state where the rural polls were held on Monday, SEC officials said.
At least 10 people were killed and over 50 injured on Monday after the rural polls witnessed intense violence.
The 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 and 26 in South 24 Pargans among others, they said.
Aggrieved by the violence that marked the panchayat poll in West Bengal which claimed at least 12 lives and left 43 injured, several candidates who were in the fray had met the SEC officials and demanded the repolling.
The state government and the police have been asked to make elaborate security arrangements so that the repolling is held in a free and fair manner, they said.
"The repolling started at 7 in the morning and will end at 5 pm. The counting will take place tomorrow (on May 17)," the SEC officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool government over violence in the panchayat polls in West Bengal saying "it was nothing but murder of democracy".
"People weren`t allowed to file nominations. People from all parties except one ruling the state have suffered. Workers of these parties were killed. This is serious. A land as great as West Bengal had to see such things. It is unfortunate," Modi said.
He was addressing workers at the BJP central office here after the BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the Karnataka Assembly polls.
"Where is the spirit of democracy?" Modi asked, adding, "It is not just about winning elections. All political parties, including civil society and judiciary, must play an active role to strengthen the democratic spirit."