days after violence during the West Bengal Panchayat elections claimed 14 lives in the state, re-polling at 568 booths in 19 districts began amid high security on Wednesday. The State Election Commission had ordered re-polling on Tuesday after demands by Opposition parties. The decision came after post-poll scrutiny of reports of political violence that marred the polling across the state. The counting will be held on May 17.

“The re-polling started at 7 am in the morning and will end at 5 pm. The counting will take place tomorrow (on May 17),” an SEC official said. An SEC officer said re-polling would be held at booths where alleged rigging, ballot box looting and false voting were reported. “We have directed the district administrations to make preparations for the re-polling.”

Re-polling is taking place in 10 booths in Hooghly, 28 booths in West Midnapore, 52 booths in Coochbehar, 63 booths in Murshidabad, 60 booths in Nadia, 59 booths in North 24 Parganas, 55 booths in Malda, 73 booths in Uttar Dinajpur, 26 in South 24 Pargans, among others.

Several candidates aggrieved by the violence that marked Monday’s panchayat polls in West Bengal had met State Commission (SEC) officials and demanded repolling in their booths. Candidates from political parties had also met the SEC officials to request re-poll in their seats.

The opposition parties have accused the TMC of “unleashing a reign of terror and destroying democracy.” However, the ruling TMC has termed the allegation as “baseless”. 

Amid all the mudslinging, reports are coming in even about agitation and unruly crowd at several booths, according to ANI, during re-polling at booth number 36/37 today, Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the police baton was charged on people as a crowd-control measure after the people agitated when the voting process for Panchayat Election re-polling started.

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