Violence in West Bengal panchayat elections

Since Monday, gruesome images and videos of poll violence that happened during West Bengal panchayat elections are making rounds on the Internet. During election, the Nation had probably witnessed perhaps one of the most violent elections of recent times. Booth captures, rigging, violence, bombing, firing, false voting, and ballot paper loot, there was absolutely nothing that was left to see in West Bengal panchayat elections.

Amidst all these the ones who had to suffer the most are the booth officials and security personnel. A video showing the suffering of booth officials in West Bengal panchayat elections has surfaced on the internet. In the video the presiding officer is seen weeping in-front of goons who have captured a booth in Mathaligunj, West Bengal. The video is sourced from Zee network’s Bengali news channel, the ‘Zee 24 Ghanta’.

This was just one of many such incidents that took place across the state throughout Monday in West Bengal. At many places the agents and officials had to flee in order to save their lives, leaving the booths empty.

The security personnel who had been appointed to supervise the polling process had no option but to witness huge mobs making a mockery out of the country’s democracy in-front of their eyes. In one instance, a constable was attacked at bansanti during polling.

Meanwhile the number of deaths in poll violence in West Bengal have increased from previously estimated 14 to 25. The West Bengal state election commission on Tuesday ordered re-poll in 568 of 41,000 booths where votes were cast during Monday’s panchayat elections—a record high, according to officials. Repoll has been ordered in 19 of the 20 districts where polling took place.

On the other hand suspense is still there about what will happen with the 34% seats, where the opposition weren’t able to file nominations. In an order before elections the Kolkata High Court had ordered state election commission to not declare anyone a winner in 34% uncontested seats. Whether elections for those 34% seats will take a place at a later date or not is still unknown.