Congress asks Mamata whether panchayat polls are taking place as per democratic process

New Delhi, July 22 (ANI): The Congress Party on Monday sought an explanation from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over incidents of violence, which continue to mar the fourth phase of the panchayat elections.

"Incidents of violence are not something new. You have witnessed so many incidents of violence during the last few months. It would be better of you ask the Chief Minister of West Bengal whether the elections are taking place in a free and fair democratic process," said Congress spokesperson Renuka Choudhary.

"And, I believe that the Election Commission is also taking note of this," she added.

Another Congress leader, Rashid Masood, echoing similar sentiments said violence increases when there is no trust and faith on democracy.

"Independent candidates are being threatened and that shows the lack of faith in democracy. This is happening under the Mamata Banerjee regime and her attitude is not correct," he said.

Five persons were killed and 12 injured as incidents of violence were reported during the fourth phase of the panchayat elections in West Bengal today.

While four were killed and seven injured in Murshidabad district, a 55-year-old voter was killed in CRPF firing when voters hurled stones at a polling booth in Malda district. Four CRPF personnel were also injured in the incident.

Two persons were killed in Murshidabad district while making bombs at Raninagar village.

In another incident, the father of an independent candidate Hriday Ghosh, was allegedly shot when he was trying to save his son at Kasba near Bolpur, in the same district.

More than 40 percent polling has been reported in the first six hours of polling.

Since the panchayat polls commenced in West Bengal on July 11, the state has been witnessing violence due to clashes amongst different party workers. Some incidents have led to killings.

The first three phases were held on July 11, 15 and 19. Polling for the next round will be on July 25. Votes will be counted on July 29. (ANI)

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