Voting begins for 73,000 seats in Bengal panchayat polls
On Saturday amid widespread violence, voting started for the three-tier panchayat polls in West Bengal, with six deaths reported in the first three hours of balloting.
Of the six fatalities, two were reported from Murshidabad and one each from Cooch Behar, East Burdwan, Malda, and Nadia. Several people have also been injured, some critically, in clashes that have erupted across the state.
Clashes between Congress and Trinamool Congress activists were also reported in Malda district on Saturday morning.
BJP polling agent Madhav Biswas has reportedly been shot dead in Falitbari, Cooch Behar.
Following clashes between CPI-M and Trinamool Congress activists in Raninagar, at least 24 persons were severely injured.
Murshidabad district, which has always been the epicenter of violence during the previous panchayat polls, witnessed massive violence again on Saturday within the first few minutes of voting.
Yaseen Shaikh, a local Trinamool Congress leader, was reportedly shot dead at Beldanga 2 block under the Rejinagar police station in Murshidabad.
Reports have also surfaced about the murder of Congress worker Shahbuddin Shaikh at Domkal, Murshidabad.
Violence was also reported from the Cooch Behar district, where a polling booth at Baravita primary school in Sitai block was vandalized, with ballot boxes broken and ballet papers destroyed just a few minutes after the polling started at around 7.30 a.m.
Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, which witnessed massive violence and three deaths during the nomination process, also became tense on Saturday morning following clashes and gun battles between Trinamool Congress and All India Secular Front (AISF) activists.
Two AISF activists, who were reportedly shot, have been hospitalized and are currently in critical condition.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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