Repolling begins in 696 booths across 19 districts of West Bengal

Kolkata: Repolling began at 7 am on Monday in 696 booths across 19 districts of West Bengal where voting for the panchayat elections was declared void amid allegations of tampering with ballot boxes and the violence that left 15 people dead, officials said.

The repolling will be held till 5 pm amid tight security with four central forces personnel deployed in each of those booths, besides state police, they said.

Among the districts where repolling was being held, violence-hit Murshidabad has the highest number of booths at 175, followed by Malda with 109, they added.

Repolling was also being held at 89 booths in Nadia, followed by Cooch Behar (53), North 24 Parganas (46), Uttar Dinajpur (42), South 24 Parganas (36), Purba Medinipur (31) and Hooghly (29), officials said.

No repolling was ordered in Darjeeling, Jhargram and Kalimpong districts, they said.

The decision for repolling in these 696 booths was announced by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Sunday evening after reviewing reports of violence and tampering with ballot boxes and ballot papers, they said.

Polling was held on Saturday in over 61,000 booths for the three-tier panchayat elections. In several places, ballot boxes were looted, set on fire and thrown in ponds, leading to violence.

A total 5.67 crore people living in the state’s rural areas were eligible to decide the fate of 2.06 lakh candidates in 73,887 seats of the panchayat system.