Repolling underway for 568 booths in West Bengal panchayat polls

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Authorities have made elaborate security arrangements in the poll bound areas in order to hold elections in a free and fair manner.

The Bengal election commission has ordered repolling in 573 booths in 19 of the state's 20 districts on Wednesday, the largest such exercise in recent memory mirroring the scale of violence and malpractices during Monday's rural elections. While the CPI (M) alleged that the house of the elderly couple was burned down by Trinamool Congress supporters, rivals said the incident could not be termed poll-related violence.

As the day progressed, reports of clashes, booth capturing, vandalizing of ballot boxes and rigging were received from pockets of South and North 24 Parganas, North Dinajpur, Nadia, West Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts.

Aggrieved by the violence that marked yesterday's panchayat polls in West Bengal, several candidates who were in the fray met State Election Commission (SEC) officials and demanded repolling in their booths. "The counting will take place tomorrow (on May 17)", the SEC officials said.

"People weren't allowed to file nominations". Some people are saying that it's a battle of survival for the Left and Congress; the BJP hopes to put up a fight and establish itself as the main opposition party. Bringing up the reference to the violence during the rural polls Modi said, "The entire country must have watched on television the way democracy was murdered during the panchayat election in Bengal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before questioning us, should answer on the anarchy that his party has created throughout the country", TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said. Addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi after the Karnataka results were declared, Modi said the country must take "serious note" of the violence in Bengal where "all leading parties except the one that rules Bengal suffered".

"Where is the spirit of democracy?" "All political parties, including civil society and judiciary, must play an active role to strengthen the democratic spirit", he added.

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