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The much-awaited West Bengal panchayat polls began at 7am today. The voting will continue till 5 p.m. in 621 zilla parishads, 6157 panchayat samitis, and 31,827 gram panchayats.

The counting will take place on May 17. Voters queue up outside a polling booth in Sirakole village in South 24 Parganas district. Considering the history of violence in the state panchayat polls, elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order during the polling. Around 46000 personnel of West Bengal Police, 12000 of Kolkata Police were getting support from around 1500 security personnel from other states. It is notable that there was widespread violence between the ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition parties during the nomination filing process that claimed lives of many people. While West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that 14 TMC supporters were killed in the violence, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that its 52 supporters were killed. The run-up to the Panchayat Polls also saw a legal battle that reached up to the Supreme Court.

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