Prior to Monday’s re-voting in 696 booths across 19 districts of the state, new violence erupted in Cooch Behar two days after West Bengal’s panchayat elections descended into mayhem.
The Trinamool Congress, which is in power, is accused by the opposition Congress party of having their party worker’s homes vandalised. Noornahar Bibi, a candidate for Congress, was the target of an unidentified group of criminals’ attack on her home on Sunday night.
Following widespread violence and fatalities on the day of the panchayat elections, revoting was mandated in 53 booths in the Cooch Behar district.
Additionally, 89 booths in Nadia, North 24 Parganas (46), Uttar Dinajpur (42), South 24 Parganas (36), Purba Medinipur (31), and Hooghly (29), according to officials who were conducting reelections.
The State Election Commission (SEC) is conducting a re-vote, which started at 7 am and will last until 5 pm under heavy security. In addition to state police, four members of the central forces have been stationed in each booth, according to officials.
Bengal’s rural elections were marked by chaos and bloodshed as 19 people died, bombs burst, and party officials from the competing parties—the Congress, the BJP, the CPI(M), the TMC, and independents—engaged in fierce combat throughout the state.
Analysts view the election as a test run for the parliamentary elections in 2024, and it also featured incidents of ballot boxes being stolen and set ablaze as well as popular resentment of political employees.
The West Bengal State Election Commission, in the exercise of the powers conferred on it by sub-sections-3 and sub-section-4 of Section-67 of the said Act, hereby fixes 10th day of July 2023 as the date of taking the fresh elections at 7:00 hours to be continued up to 17:00 hours uninterruptedly until completion and directs the District Panchayat Election Officer to fix the polling station where elections will be held, the SEC said in an official release on Sunday.
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