Counting begins for Bengal panchayat polls amid violence

Counting of votes for the 73,887 seats in the three-tier panchayat system of West Bengal started on Tuesday amid reports of sporadic violence and clashes coming from different parts of the state.

Of the 73,887 seats, 928 are zilla parishad level, 9,730 panchayat samiti and 63,229 gram panchayat.

The ruling Trinamool Congress has already started a lap ahead in the counting process by bagging uncontested victories in 8, 941 seats.

Of the 8,941 seats, 16 are zilla parishad level, 981 panchayat samiti and 7,944 gram panchayat.

There has not been any uncontested seat in the zilla parishad level going in favor of any other party other than the Trinamool Congress.

At the panchayat samiti level, 10 seats have gone uncontested in favor of independent candidates.

In case of gram panchayat, two have gone in favor of the BJP, three for the CPI(M) and 53 for independent candidates.

Meanwhile, reports of sporadic incidents of violence have started coming from different pockets in the state since the beginning of the counting.

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose reached Kolkata on Tuesday and keeping his commitment to play the role of an “on-ground governor” he went straight to Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district, which has been the epicenter of violence.

Clashes between Congress and Trinamool Congress were reported in Samserganj, Murshidabad district, where crude bombs were hurled.

In Jangipara, Hooghly district, police reportedly resorted to lathi charge inside the CPI(M) office.

CPI(M) supporters in Bagnan, Howrah district, resorted to road blocks and burnt tires alleging that their agents were forcefully evicted from the counting station by the ruling party activists. Similar clashes were also reported in Galsi, East Burdwan.