The counting of votes in the violence-hit West Bengal Panachayat elections that resulted in the death of more than 20 people will take place today. The panchayat elections saw high political drama-from repolling in 19 districts to Prime Minister wading in, calling the elections a murder of democracy. According to reports, TMC is bound to maintain its grip over the rural bodies. However, it remains to be seen if BJP is able to increase its vote share from the 3% it got in 2013 elections.
Counting of votes will be done amid high-security arrangements as trouble is feared after panchayat poll results are announced. Poll officers have threatened to boycott poll duty unless they are provided proper security. This demand arose after a presiding officer was found dead on rail tracks at Raiganj. Police suspect suicide but fellow poll officers don’t agree.
To maintain law and order, the State Election Commission has ordered that no victory rallies will be allowed by political parties till all results are announced. Counting will be held at multiple centres with prohibitory orders imposed in a 200-metre radius around each centre.
Around 46,000 personnel of West Bengal Police, 12, 000 of Kolkata Police and 1,500 security personnel from other states have been deployed to maintain law and order.
Elections were held in 622 zila parishads and 6,158 panchayat samitis, besides 31,836 gram panchayats of the state. This is because 16,814 gram panchayat seats, 3,059 panchayat samiti seats and 203 zila parishad were uncontested. Trinamool candidates were elected unopposed in 34% of seats. However, the Supreme Court has directed the SEC not to declare them as winners until further orders. In the last 40 years, there have been only two occasions when the number of uncontested seats crossed 10% — 2003 (11%) and 2013 (10.66%).
The TMC controls 90% of the Panchayat seats, apart from all the Zilla Parishads of the state. In the 2013 panchayat elections, BJP received a meagre 3% votes after fielding only 9,000 candidates.
HERE ARE THE LIVE UPDATES OF WEST BENGAL PANCHAYAT ELECTION 2018 RESULTS:
2:25pm-Security Personnel lathi charge TMC and BJP workers who clashed outside a counting centre in Birbhum.
2:16pm- In East Medinipur, TMC has so far won 446 gram panchayat seats out of 2,592 where polling was held. BJP has managed to win 26 and CPI (M) clinched 9 seats in the district
2:00pm- Ruling Trinamool Congress has so far won 133 seats out of 912 gram panchayat seats where polling was held in Bankura district whereas BJP has claimed 80 seats and CPI (M) 15
1:00pm- TMC workers celebrate as their party is leading in panchayat elections
11:28am- Out of the total 31,814 that were contested for, TMC has won 110 & is leading on 1,208, BJP has won 4 & is leading on 81, while CPI(M) has won 3 seats & has a lead on 58. Counting in progress.
10:26am- Police has seized 40 mobile phones from a counting centre set up at Jalpaiguri’s Polytechnic Institute.
9:33am- Counting has started in Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Malda districts of North Bengal.
9:27am- Counting of votes for Panchayat Election has started in 6 districts of North Bengal; Counting was delayed at centres in the North Bengal.
9:14am- Elections were held in 622 zila parishads and 6,158 panchayat samitis, besides 31,836 gram panchayats of the state. Trinamool candidates were elected unopposed in 34% of seats.
9:00am- The West Bengal panchayat elections are being viewed as a warm up match ahead of next year’s general elections. Panchayat Elections have witnessed 25 deaths in poll-related violence so far.