Voting for Panchayat elections in 20 districts of West Bengal has begun under tight security. The polling will take place in 621 zilla parishads and 6,157 panchayat samitis, besides in 31,827 gram panchayats, spread across 20 districts on 14 May, the State Election Commission said.
Polling started at 7 am and will end at 5 pm. Counting of all votes will take place on 17 May, the commission said.
The run-up to the polls witnessed a series of court cases, and also experienced of several clashes across districts between supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Opposition BJP, Congress and the Left.
Amid intense violence, the Opposition parties accused the State Election Commission (SEC) of not providing a conducive environment for their candidates to file nominations. They also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of unleashing a reign of terror during the nomination process for the polls.
On the other hand, Trinamool termed these allegations as baseless, and appealed voters to vote for development.
The BJP, which has been trying to emerge as the main challenger to the Trinamool, promised development in rural areas if it comes to power while the Left Front and the Congress had appealed to the voters to defeat the Trinamool and BJP in Bengal.
Trinamool Congress leader Arabul Islam was even sent to 10 days' police custody in connection with the killing of a supporter of an Independent candidate.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 16, 2018 19:29 PM