Panchayat elections: Repoll in 568 booths begins

Panchayat elections: Repoll in 568 booths begins

Polling officials put an ink mark on a voter's finger after during Panchayat Election at a polling booth in Howrah district of West Bengal on Monday.

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.

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.

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.

Independent candidates too met the SEC officials to request repoll in their seats.

Opposition parties had accused the TMC of "unleashing a reign of terror and destroying democracy". The TMC, however, termed the allegations as "baseless".

Several non-political organisations held sit-ins outside the SEC office yesterday in protest against the violence on the polling day.

The rural polls were held after a protracted legal battle in the Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court involving the State Election Commission, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition parties.