West Bengal: Toll in panchayat poll violence rises to 15
Different political parties claimed that the number of deaths was higher. While the TMC claimed nine of its members died in the violence, Congress said three of its supporters were killed
The toll in the violence during panchayat elections in West Bengal rose to 15 after a person was found dead in South 24 Parganas, and two others succumbed to their injuries, officials said on Sunday.
A person, identified as Abu Salem Khan, was found dead near a polling booth in West Gabtala in Kultali police station area. He had injuries on his head, they said.
He was known to be a TMC worker in the area, locals said.
Police said they are investigating the cause of the death.
Tension was palpable in the area, and a large police contingent was deployed to prevent any further flare-up.
Another TMC worker, identified as Azhar Lashkar, injured during violence in the district's Basanti area on Saturday night died at the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, doctors who were treating him said.
In Malda district's Baishannagar, TMC worker Motiur Rahman was stabbed outside a polling booth. The incident happened near KBC primary school in the Barkamat area, officials said.
TMC alleged the incident happened when Congress workers were trying to tamper with the ballot box, and he tried to stop them. Congress denied the charge.
Rahman succumbed to the injuries on the way to the Malda Medical College and Hospital, officials said.
Till Saturday night, 12 deaths were reported in the violence that broke out in the state during the polling. Among them, eight were from the ruling TMC and one supporter each of the BJP, CPI(M) and Congress.
However, different political parties claimed that the number of deaths was higher, totalling 18. TMC claimed nine of its members died in the violence, while the Congress claimed three of its supporters were killed. The BJP claimed two of its supporters died, and the CPI(M) also said that two of its members died. The political affiliation of two deceased could not be known.
The State Election Commission (SEC) said it has sought detailed reports on the deaths from the district magistrates (DMs).
"We have asked the DMs to file reports on the deaths within 24 hours," an official told PTI.
A total of 73,887 seats in the state's three-tier panchayat system went to the polls, with lakh 2.06 lakh candidates in the fray. A voter turnout of 66.28 per cent, provisionally, was recorded, while 5.67 crore people living in the state's rural areas were eligible to vote, officials said.
Repolling was underway in 32 booths in Cooch Behar district's Dinhata, they said.