After a protracted legal battle, the single-phase West Bengal panchayat election concluded at 5 pm in the evening on Monday with 72.5 per cent total voter turnout percentage, said State Election Commission. However, the number may rise as 450,000 voters were still lined up in the queue outside the polling booths to cast their vote across several parts of the violence-ridden state, news agency PTI reported.
The run-up to the single-phase panchayat polls was marked by intense campaigning. The ruling Trinamool Congress was engaged in a bitter war of words with the opposition BJP, Congress and the Left Front over the violence that erupted during the filing of nominations for the polls.
Speaking on the unprecedented violence marring the panchayat election procedures, West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP), Surajit Kar Purkayastha confirmed the death of over 12 people in the violence.
The opposition had accused the ruling TMC of letting loose a reign of terror during the nomination process. The TMC rubbished the allegations, saying the opposition did not have a mass base and ware trying to evade the polls.
The filing of nominations, which was held from 2 to 9 April and then again on an extended date on 23 April, was marked by violence and clashes between the ruling TMC and opposition parties that led to several deaths.