A state Election Commission official said there are reports of six people being killed in violence during Panchayat polls.
Kolkata: As many as 38,529 seats across West Bengal are up for contest today as the voters exercise their franchise in the West Bengal Panchayat Election.
The polls area the last major elections in the state before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Political parties are viewing today's poll as a warm up match ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The state has witnessed several incidents of political clashes and violence over the past few weeks.
After about 34 per cent of the seats were won by the Trinamool Congress, the Supreme Court last week expressed concern that such a large percentage of seats were won by the ruling party and the top court stayed the notification of those results.
"What bothers us is 34 per cent candidates have been elected unopposed... Elections to be held in absolute fairness," the Supreme Court had said.
Here are the updates of the West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018:
05:01 pm: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sought a report from the West Bengal government regarding incidents of violence during Panchayat polls in the state
"There are reports of six people being killed," a state Election Commission official said. However, unconfirmed reports say that 6 to 12 people have been killed in the violence across state
04:18 pm: “Election has turned into a commotion because no rules were followed. Police could not strengthen the security. That is why we have come here to speak to the Election Commission to find a solution,” Biman Bose, CPI(M) on West Bengal Panchayat Elections
04:17 pm: Members of CPI(M), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and other parties of the Left Front staging protest outside State Election Commission againt the incidents of violence during the West Bengal Panchayat elections
04:08 pm: Overall 56 per cent polling recorded till 3 pm in West Bengal
03:38 pm: “This is nothing but complete destruction of democracy. Election Commission is not giving time to political representative. We are organizing a protest against it,” Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, CPI-M said on incidents of violence during West Bengal Panchayat election
03:09 pm: Women queue up to cast their votes at a polling booth in Cooch Behar
02:49 pm: Congress workers hold protest outside Election Commission in Kolkata
02:27 pm: According to reports, a Trinamool Congress worker was beaten to death in Shantipur, Nadia district while another worker of TMC was killed in South 24 Parganas. One person has died in Murshidabad and another in North 24 Parganas. However, the death toll has still not been confirmed by the police
02:25 pm: West Bengal Assembly Elections 2018: Ballot boxes looted at gunpoint by unidentified people at 44, 45 and 45K booths in Murshidabad, reports ANI
02:21 pm: Ballot box being retrieved from a pond in West Bengal's Sonadangi
02:14 pm: West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018: 41.51 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm
02:14 pm: Voting booth vandalised allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers in North Dinajpur's Sonadangi during West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018
01:38 pm: Vehicles vandalised in Raniganj area of Asansol during voting for Panchayat polls in West Bengal, reports ANI
01:05 pm: "There are minor incidents taking place, no major incidents have been reported. Administration is active in places where such clashes have taken place. Voting is being conducted peaceful. I strongly condemn the attack on journalists," TMC's Partha Chatterjee said
12:53 pm: "Not surprised by all the incidents that are happening since morning. Bengal govt is a shameless govt, you cannot expect them to follow any kind of constitutional behaviour. I demand President's Rule in WB," Union Minister Babul Supriyo said on violence during West Benagl Panchayat Election
12:40 pm: Clashes between BJP and CPI(M) workers in Durgapur, reports ANI
12:12 pm: West Bengal Panchayat Election: 26.28 per cent voter turnout till 11 am: ANI
12:10 pm: Five local journalists injured after violence, following booth capturing in Birpara, allegedly by Trinamool Congress, reports news agency ANI
12:00 pm: A TMC worker named Arif Gazi shot dead in Kultali area of South 24 Parganas district, reports ANI
11:45 am: "Highly condemnable and deplorable, it signifies that culture of political violence under TMC has engulfed entire West Bengal and it is an alarming sign for democracy," said BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi on violence during West Bengal Panchayat Election
11:43 am: West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018: At least 20 people have been injured after a crude bomb explosion in Amdanga's Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas, news agency ANI reported
11:30 am: BJP supporter Sujit Kumar Das, was slapped by West Bengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh at Cooch Behar's booth number 8/12 in presence of the Police. Rabindra Nath Ghosh said, “BJP agent was trying to run away with ballot box, officers caught hold of him but people said let him go. I just drove people away using my hand, that's all. TMC hasn't attacked anyone.”
11:22 am: Ballot papers thrown in a pond after a clash that broke out between Trinamool Congress and BJP in Murshidabad. Following which voting has been stopped for now
10:48 am: West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018: BJP supporter in Bilkanda severely injured after being attacked with a knife, allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers. He is presently undergoing treatment
10:14 am: In Uluberia, Howrah, bombs were hurled at police
10:09 am: One person has been killed in poll violence in West Bengal in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district
10:06 am: 102-year-old woman casts her vote at a polling in Dantan area of West Midnapore
10:03 am: Road blocked by locals in Bhangar. They alleged Trinamool Congress workers of capturing the booth
09:51 am: An independent candidate from Nadia district has been shot dead
09:46 am: Violence reported in Bhangar, a media vehicle has been torched and a camera has also been broken. Media not allowed to enter the area, reports news agency ANI.
09:25 am: Alleged Trinamool Congeress workers barring voters from entering booth number 14/79 in Birpara
09:11 am: CPI(M) worker and his wife charred to death after their house in North 24 Parganas was torched on Sunday night, CPI (M) alleges TMC workers were behind the attack
09:10 am: West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018: 20 people were injured in a clash which broke out between two groups in Cooch Behar. The injured have been taken to MJN hospital for treatment. Locals say, 'We went there to vote but people belonging to TMC attacked us with sticks'
09:09 am: According to reports, a media vehicle was attacked at Bhangar
09:08 am: Within less than two hours after the polling began, the State Election Commission has received complains of violence from at least four districts from different parts the state and has asked the police to take action, SEC officials were quoted as saying by news agency PTI
07:50 am: West Bengal Panchayat Elections 2018: A voter shows inked finger in Cooch Behar. Voting will be held across the state from 7 am to 5 pm
07:12 am: Voters queue up outside the polling booths in West Bengal to cast their vote. Outside a polling booth in Jalpaiguri's Ashighar, voters were seen standing with a umbrella. Several parts of the country on Sunday experienced severe thunderstorm and rains
07:09 am: In the run up to West Bengal rural polls, there have been several incidents of sporadic violence across the state. A 30-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday when some gunmen opened fire on a poll rally at Bhangar, 25 km from Kolkata
07:05 am: West Bengal Panchayat polls 2018: Amid tight security, voting begins in West Bengal.
(With inputs from agencies)