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West Bengal Panchayat Polls Underway: 41% Voter Turnout Till 1 PM

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| May 14 , 2018 , 14:22 IST

The West Bengal Panchayat Polls are underway on Monday for 38,529 seats for which more than 5 crore people are eligible to cast their vote. Although the total number of Panchayat seats is 58,692, a record 34 percent of the seats have been won unopposed by the ruling Trinamool Congress, the highest in Panchayat Polls in 40 years.

There are 1.15 lakh candidates in the fray, out of which the Trinamool has fielded over 38,000 candidates.

ALSO READ: More Than 850 Muslim Candidates Fielded By BJP For West Bengal Panchayat Polls

The Panchayat Polls have been marred by a series of violence with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claiming that 14 Trinamool workers have been killed, while a BJP leader claiming last week that 52 people have been killed.

Since the nominations filing process began on April 2, Opposition parties in West Bengal, including the CPM, BJP and the Congress have claimed that many of their candidates could not file their respective nomination papers due to Trinamool's "terror tactics".

The voting is taking place through ballot papers and more than 1.5 lakh security personnel have been deployed out of which 2,000 have been called in from other states.

ALSO READ: Calcutta HC Stays WB Panchayat Poll Process Till April 16, Fines BJP Rs 5 Lakh For Misrepresentation

The Panchayat Polls are considered to be an indication of the direction of West Bengal politics. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in 2008 performed well at the Panchayat Polls, edging out the Left and 3 years later Banerjee became the chief minister of West Bengal.

The BJP has fielded the largest number of candidates in the Panchayat Poll after the Trinamool and has fielded more than 850 Muslim candidates, an increase from the less than 100 Muslim candidates fielded by the party in the previous WB panchayat elections in 2013.

Results for the West Bengal Panchayat polls will be declared on May 17.