Violence kills 1, TMC under fire

One person was killed and some people were injured in isolated incidents of violence which marred the fifth and final phase of panchayat elections in four North Bengal districts on Thursday. Another voter died of heart attack. The Trinamul Congress was blamed for both the deaths.

The state election commission (SEC), however, claimed that the fifth phase poll was comparatively peaceful which witnessed 70 per cent voters’ turn out till 5 pm. “So far the fifth phase poll has been peaceful and there were stray incidents of violence in the four North Bengal districts. If compared to the number of deaths and repoll in the previous panchayat election in 2008, we have witnessed a better panchayat election this year,” SEC secretary Tapas Ray said.
The four districts of Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur recorded 70.43, 70.37, 63.17 and 78.50 per cent polling respectively with 1,300 booths among 7,962 completing voting process within 5 pm.
During the fifth and final phase, a CPI(M) activist was killed when a clash between Trinamul Congress and CPI(M) supporters broke out in Itahar of North Dinajpur. 50-year-old Abdul Aziz was allegedly stabbed to death by TMC workers outside a polling booth. Three more CPI(M) activists were reportedly injured and were taken to Raiganj Zila Hospital. However, the Trinamul Congress denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, in a tragic incident, a 70-year-old voter died of heart attack at Phulbari while he was waiting in a queue to cast his vote in Jaleswari of Jalpaiguri. Mahendra Burman was rushed to a nearby public health centre after he collapsed in the queue. He was declared brought dead by doctors.
In another incident, three persons were injured at Talguri in Jalpaiguri during a clash while another person was hit on the head with a bamboo stick when he was going to cast his vote. Reportedly, all the four were CPI(M) supporters.
On late Thursday evening, SEC secretary Tapas Ray informed that six booths in North Dinajpur, five in Coochbehar and one in Jalpaiguri would go for repoll on July 27. “We have received reports of booth jamming, stealing of ballot papers and even throwing of ballot papers into a pond from some booths. They might once again go to poll,” Mr Ray said.

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