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Bengal SEC Says Will Look Into Poll Violence Complaints, Demands For Re-poll

On Saturday, Bengal State Election Commissioner (SEC) Rajiva Sinha promised to look into complaints of vote tampering and to take a decision on possible re-polling after receiving reports from observers and returning officers

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Bengal SEC Says Will Look Into Poll Violence Complaints, Demands For Re-poll
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Bengal State Election Commissioner (SEC) Rajiva Sinha on Saturday promised to look into complaints of vote tampering and to take a decision on possible re-polling after receiving reports from observers and returning officers.  
    
Sinha said the most number of complaints on incidents of violence during the day's polling came from four districts, and they would all be taken into account while reviewing the poll process.
    
The SEC, who had to face a lot of flak from various political parties, said that a decision on re-polling would be taken on Sunday when observers and returning officers would scrutinise and review the polling process.  
    
"I have been getting information (of violence and clashes) since last night. Calls were directly made to me as well as to the Control room phone numbers on these incidents. 
    
"The maximum number of such incidents on Saturday were reported from three to four districts like North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad district," Sinha told PTI.   
    
The SEC, Sinha said, received 1,300 complaints from Barasat including on incidents of miscreants fleeing with ballot boxes,  
    
"Tomorrow there will be a detailed scrutiny. Re-polling will be held at those booths where a maximum number of violence was reported, and where polling could not happen or was stopped. 
    
"That is the reason the day after polling is kept for scrutiny. Observers and returning officers will scrutinise the polling process. Only then we will be able to understand in how many places re-polling needs to be ordered," he said.      
    
Asked whether Saturday's polling was peaceful or not, the former Bengal chief secretary said, "I will not be able to say until we get a full report on it. Let the polling be over. Law and order is the state police’s subject. When we get information, the SEC passes it on." 
    
He said the district magistrates, police superintendent and CAPs were informed immediately after the SEC got any information about any untoward incident in connection with Saturday's polling.  
    
Talking about the number of deaths, Sinha said officially there were three deaths during Saturday's polling. 
    
"As per the direct information we have received, there are only three deaths," he said.  
    
However, according to police officials, 12 people, including eight from the ruling TMC, and one worker each of the BJP, CPI(M), Congress and ISF died in different incidents of violence spread across West Bengal during Saturday's three-tier panchayat polls. 
    
Meanwhile, an individual identified as Manish Prasad, reportedly a BJP worker, was arrested after he entered the SEC office and said that he wished to throw black ink on Sinha for his alleged failure to control violence in Saturday’s polling process. 
    
The polling began at 7 am in 73,887 seats in the rural areas of the state with 5.67 crore people deciding the fate of around 2.06 lakh candidates. Till 5 pm, 66.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded, officials said.

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