West Bengal Panchayat elections: Counting begins amid tight security

Women voters stand in a queue to cast their votes during the re-polling of the West Bengal Panchayat elections, at Gangajalghati in Bankura, Monday, July 10, 2023. Photo Credit: ANI

counting of votes for three tier panchayat elections Polling for nearly 74,000 seats in West Bengal began on the morning of Tuesday, July 11, 2023, amid tight security, officials said.

There are about 339 counting centers spread across 22 districts.

Read also: West Bengal Panchayat Election Violence | Governor Anand Bose says the darkest hour just before dawn

“The counting of votes, which began at 8 am, is likely to continue for the next two days. Counting of ballots and compilation of results will take time. We are hopeful that the trends will be available by the end.” day,” said an SEC official.

Armed state police personnel and central forces will be deployed at all the counting centers and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC will be imposed outside the venue to avoid any untoward incident.

There are a total of 767 strongrooms in 22 districts.

West Bengal’s rural elections were marred by violence on Saturday, leaving 15 people dead, while ballot boxes were smashed, ballot boxes set on fire and bombs hurled at rivals at several places.

Of those killed, 11 were linked to the TMC. The total death toll in the state has crossed 30 since the election process began on June 8 and the dates were announced.

On July 8, 80.71 per cent polling was recorded, while 69.85 per cent votes were recorded till 5 pm in 696 booths in West Bengal where re-polling took place on Monday.

The decision to re-poll was taken after reviewing reports of violence and tampering with ballot boxes and ballot papers on Saturday.

A total of 5.67 crore people living in rural areas of the state were eligible to decide the fate of 2.06 lakh candidates for 73,887 seats in the panchayat system.

Saturday’s violence was in keeping with the state’s history of violent rural elections, including the 2003 panchayat polls, which gained notoriety for the deaths of 76 people during the election process, including nearly 40 on polling day. They went.

This year, more than 30 people have died since the elections were announced early last month, almost equal to the death toll in the last panchayat polls in 2018.

However, this time the opposition fielded its candidates in more than 90 per cent seats, unlike in the 2018 rural polls, when the ruling TMC won 34 per cent seats unopposed.

In the 2018 rural elections, the ruling TMC emerged victorious in 90 per cent panchayat seats and all 22 zilla parishads. The elections saw widespread violence, with the opposition alleging that they were prevented from filing nominations for several seats.

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