Widespread violence hit the West Bengal panchayat polls on Monday, leaving at least 14 people dead and 43 injured, according to local reports.
The pre-poll clashes between the supporters of Trimool Congress and opposition parties took over several areas in the state, including North and South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad and South Dinajpur districts, even after having massive security arrangements.
More than 60,000 security personnel from West Bengal and other states were deployed for the polls.
A person was shot dead near a polling booth in Sujapur village of Murshidabad. The victim was a BJP worker, the party’s local unit leader Subhas Mondal claimed.
A person was also killed in South Dinajpur, while four others were injured after a bomb was hurled outside a polling station in Tapan area, the official said.
Another person died in clashes between two groups in Nakashipara area in Nadia. Another death was reported from Shantipur, he said.
A CPI(M) supporter was killed and another was injured when bombs were hurled outside a station in Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas, the official said.
At Kutali of South 24 Parganas, one person was killed, he added.
The SEC official said 41.5 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm.
At least 15 people, including the voters were injured in Dinhata area, after clashes broke outside a polling station, police said.
Whereas, fifteen people were injured in Nandigram of East Midnapore district. One person was hit on the head with a knife and one lost his finger, police said.
Chilli powder was thrown at an independent candidate and four others at a polling booth in Contai area, they said.
Three crude bombs were found near a booth at Galaisura, in North Dinajpur, police said.
In Birbhum, masked men carrying weapons and sticks were spotted threatening voters outside few booths.
In Keshpur of West Midnapore, lathicharge was ordered by as police chased men who were allegedly threatening voters.
The office-in-charge of Ratua police station of Malda, Debabrata Chakraborty was injured in stone-pelting by the workers of a political party, SP Arnab Ghosh said.
The panchayat polls are being held after a legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the SEC, the TMC and the opposition parties.
Senior CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “democracy has been murdered by TMC in Bengal.’’
"There have been one or two isolated incidents. The administration has taken steps in all the cases. We have seen elections during the Left tenure when we used to witness bloodbath and death," said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee, dismissing the allegations.
(With inputs from agencies)