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One dead in violence during Bengal civic polls
Saturday April 25, 2015 2:34 PM, IANS

Kolkata: One person was shot dead and another received bullet injuries in West Bengal during polling for 91 civic bodies on Saturday.

The voter turnout in the first four hours of the polling, amid violence and earthquake, was 42 percent, an official said.

While one person - Indrajit Singh - said to be a Trinamool Congress activist, was shot dead at Katwa in Burdwan, another suffered bullet injuries in North 24 Parganas district.

"He (Singh) was shot dead by unidentified miscreants. We have sought a report on the incident, senior police officials are at the spot and we are taking all measures to preserve peace and security," Burdwan district magistrate Saumitra Mohan said.

Trinamool leaders have pointed fingers at Congress activists regarding Singh's killing.

"Around 42.5 percent of polling was reported till 12 p.m. We have received reports of violence from several districts including Burdwan, North 24 Parganas and Bankura. We are looking into them and taking all measures to ensure security," officer on special duty (OSD), state election commission Sabyasachi Ghosh said.

Polling in several districts including Murshidabad and Siliguri was temporarily suspended after massive tremors, lasting over a minute, were felt following a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday.

"Four elderly voters had to be taken to a hospital after they felt dizzy following the tremors. We had to suspend polling for a brief while as they was panic due to the polls," said a presiding officer in Murshidabad.

Reports of voting being disrupted or suspended briefly due to the tremors were also reported from Siliguri and North 24 Parganas district, an official said.

In North 24-Parganas' Titagarh, a voter was allegedly shot in his leg while Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Govind Pal alleged that Trinamool miscreants fired bullets at him but he escaped unhurt.

There were reports of crude bombs being hurled at several places across North 24 Parganas, Burdwan and Bankura districts. Several crude bombs were recovered by police in Sonamukhi town in Bankura district.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Darjeeling S.S. Ahluwalia alleged that several party candidates contesting for the Siliguri Municipality polls and activists were assaulted by Trinamool goons.

"Since midnight, our people have come under intense attack by Trinamool goons. Our candidates have been beaten up, party activists and polling agent been assaulted. There is a reign of terror unleashed by Trinamool," said Ahluwalia.

CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty charged the ruling Trinamool of turning the polls into a 'farce' yet again like the April 18 Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) polls.

"After the KMC polls, the Trinamool is hell bent to turn these polls also into a farce. Yet again the State Election Commission has been an utter failure," said Chakraborty.

TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee rubbished the allegations and said the polls are peaceful.

Around 74 lakh people will cast their votes to decide the fate of 7,636 candidates contesting for 1,946 wards of the 91 municipal bodies -- one Notified Area, two Municipal Corporations (Siliguri and Chandannagar) and 88 municipalities -- spread across north and south Bengal.

Of 8,756 polling stations, 2,318 have been identified as sensitive and 2,142 as hypersensitive by the poll panel. Besides a large number police personnel, 35 companies of central forces have been deployed for the polls.

The results will be declared on April 28, 2015.

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