WB panchayat polls peaceful

WB panchayat polls peaceful

The first phase of the five-phase Panchayat polls in West Bengal passed off peacefully on Thursday as thousands braved heat, rains and Maoist threats to cast their vote for the state-wide Panchayat elections.

The phase saw polling at the three western districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore, a large part of which forms the erstwhile Maoist stronghold of Junglemahal.

A three-layer security cordon around booths, including one by heavily armed Central police forces personnel, ensured that voters of Junglemahal could come out in large numbers. If the Centre provided a 15,000-strong force, the state government deployed another 35,000 armed state police personnel just for Junglemahal.

The region saw unprecedented number of voters taking part in the polls, even at places such as Lalgarh, Dharampur, Binpur, Kantapahari, Silda and Netai in west Midnapore, which were Maoist strongholds as recent as in early 2012. According to sources in the SEC, polling is expected to cross the 80 percent mark by the end of the day.

Brief trouble broke out at Belda in West Midnapore, where Surjyakanta Mishra of CPM, the leader of the opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, met with sloganeering Trinamool activists after he accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of spreading terror. Sporadic incidents of violence, mostly caused by the ruling party, were reported in different parts of Bankura and Purulia districts.

Meanwhile, sources in the SEC said in West Midnapore district, 937 Trinamool Gram Panchayat candidates have won uncontested, with another 133 winning similarly in Panchayat Samiti, while the Left won in just six Gram Panchayat.

At Bankura district, Trinamool has won uncontested in 536 Gram Panchayat seats and 109 in Panchayat Samiti seats.

Comments (+)