Bengal panchayat

Kolkata, July 08: As voting commenced for the West Bengal panchayat election 2023, the state witnessed a surge in violence, with three more individuals losing their lives in Murshidabad district. This brings the total death toll to 23 since the announcement of the election dates. Incidents of vandalism and arson were also reported in various locations.

TMC Accuses Opposition Parties

The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) claimed that three of its party workers were “murdered” in Rejinagar, Tufanganj, and Khargram, while two others were injured by gunshots in Domkol. The TMC criticized the opposition parties, including BJP, CPI(M), and Congress, for demanding the deployment of central forces while questioning their absence during the violence.

Governor Urges Voter Turnout

Governor CV Ananda Bose urged the people of rural Bengal to exercise their voting rights without fail. He personally monitored the situation and visited polling booths in North 24 Parganas. Describing the panchayat polls as a “fight between ballots and bullets,” the governor assured that he would take corrective measures as necessary.

Significance of the Election

The panchayat election holds significance for political parties as it serves as a platform to assess their organizational strengths and weaknesses ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It also provides an opportunity to gauge the mood of the state after two years of the TMC government’s third consecutive term.

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Voter Turnout and Party Participation

Long queues were observed outside polling booths as people turned out early, braving the intermittent rains. The TMC, BJP, CPI(M), and Congress fielded candidates across various seats. The TMC contested all seats in zilla parishads, panchayat samitis, and gram panchayats, while the BJP, CPI(M), and Congress fielded candidates in specific seats based on their respective strengths.

Security Measures in Place

To ensure a smooth electoral process, around 600 central forces companies were deployed, along with approximately 70,000 state police personnel.

Despite the instances of violence and disruptions, the West Bengal panchayat election continued with voters displaying their determination to participate in the democratic process. The outcome of the election will provide insights into the political landscape of the state and help parties strategize for future elections.