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Violence in West Bengal municipal polls: TMC cries Opposition conspiracy

Says violence at the behest of BJP and Congress to disrupt Mamata Banerjee's development work

Meghna Sen  |  New Delhi 

West Bengal civic polls, poll violence, West Bengal
A polling station vandalised during municipal elections at Domcol in Murshidabad district of West Bengal on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress withdrew their candidates in many wards and demanded repolling amid violent scenes during the municipal elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday dubbed this a conspiracy to tarnish Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s image and undermine her development work.
“The BJP is trying to create troubles by using its cadre. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Congress have lost their way. The Opposition wants to halt the development work done by the government in the state, but we will stick to our development policy,” said TMC Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Partha Chatterjee.

Earlier in the day, seven people had been reported to be injured in violent clashes as voting took place for seven municipal bodies in five districts of the state. Not only had bombs been hurled at polling booths, but electronic voting machines (EVMs) had also been destroyed to scare voters away, allegedly by ‘TMC goons’.
Sporadic incidents of had been reported from six booths of three municipalities – Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, Domkal in Murshidabad, and Pujali in South 24 Parganas. In protest, even as polling was midway, the Congress had withdrawn all 10 candidates that it had fielded in Domkol (which has 21 seats). Later, after a bomb blast, the BJP had followed suit and pulled out its candidates in Raigunj.
On Monday, the State Election Commission ordered a repoll in three of the municipalities – Raiganj, Domkal and Pujali.
According to the State Election Commission, the overall recorded turnout in Sunday’s polling had been nearly 68 per cent across the state. Off the seven municipal bodies that went to polls, Pujali had registered the highest voting, at 79.6 per cent, while Darjeeling had seen the lowest turnout of 52 per cent. Domkal had recorded 77.5 per cent voting, Mirik Notified Area 74.3 per cent, Kurseong 66.1 per cent, Raiganj 66 per cent and Kalimpong 58.1 per cent.