Violence gripped the state of West Bengal as the fourth phase of Panchayat polls began in four districts today. Two activists of Communist Party of India (Marxist) and three Congress workers were killed on Sunday, according to reports.
The bodies of the two CPI-M supporters were found at Mayureswar in Birbhum district. The father of an independent candidate was also shot but survived. He has been shifted to a hospital in Kolkata.
Even the headquarters of Birbhum district, Suri, reported violent clashes between activists of the CPI-M and ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). Twenty people have been injured there, few are in critical condition.
In another incident at South 24 Parganas, 100 houses were vandalised and looted.
Incidence of upheaval and bloodshed has been witnessed since the five-phased Panchayat polls commenced on 11 July. Since the start of the second phase on 15 July, at least 17 people were killed during the poll related violence in the state, reported NDTV.
"Every death is a tragedy, irrespective of the party he or she belongs to. A family loses a precious member who can never be replaced. Election is being conducted by the State election Commission (SEC), not the government. Adequate police were provided as per requirement stipulated by the SEC," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the SEC in a write-up on the TMC website.
Meanwhile, another provocative speech was made by TMC leader Manirul Islam, who on Sunday threatened to behead a Congress leader at an election rally. "Bapi Dutta, it would not take me even a minute to behead you," shouted Manirul Islam at the rally.
To which Dutta, a Congress leader from Birbhum district replied, "There is no doubt that Trinamool Congress is a party of anti-socials. People will give Islam's comments a befitting reply through the ballot."
Over a crore populace will be voting today in a total of 13,846 booths, out of which 8920 have been declared sensitive, reported NDTV. Maoists in the Birbhum district have put up posters that warned against voting.
A few arrests have been made in Murshidabad after the poll violence, reported ANI.