Bengal panchayat polls: Counting begins amid tight security

08:06 AM Jul 11, 2023 | PTI |

Kolkata: The counting of votes for the violence-scarred three-tier panchayat elections in West Bengal began amid tight security on Tuesday morning, officials said.


Votes — held for 73,887 seats in zilla parishad, panchayat samiti and gram panchayat — will be counted in 339 venues across 22 districts of the state. Altogether 2.06 lakh candidates were in the fray.

”The counting began at 8 am, and it is likely to continue for two days. It will take time for all the ballot papers to be counted and compile results. We hope that a trend will be available by the end of the day,” an SEC official said.

All the counting venues will be manned by armed state police personnel and one company of central forces. Prohibitory orders under Sec 144 of CrPC were imposed outside the venue to avoid any untoward incidents, an official said.

Violence rocked the polling on Saturday, leaving 15 people dead while ballot boxes were vandalised, ballot papers torched, and bombs thrown at rivals in several places.


Of those deceased people, 11 were affiliated with the TMC. The total death toll in the state since the poll process began on June 8, when the poll date was announced, has crossed 30.

A voter turnout of 80.71 per cent was recorded on Saturday, whereas 69.85 per cent of votes were cast till 5 pm in 696 booths across West Bengal, where re-polling was held on Monday because of violence and tampering with ballot boxes and ballot papers on Saturday.

Opposition parties had fielded candidates in more than 90 per cent of seats, unlike in 2018 rural polls, when the ruling Trinamool Congress had won 34 per cent of the seats uncontested.

In the 2018 panchayat elections, the TMC won 90 per cent of the panchayat seats and all 22 zilla parishads. That time also the voting was marred by widespread violence, with the opposition parties alleging they were prevented from filing nominations in many seats across the state.


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