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Violence reported across West Bengal in 7th phase LS polls; 13% voting so far
Photo Courtesy: pib

Violence reported across West Bengal in 7th phase LS polls; 13% voting so far

| @indiablooms | 01 Jun 2024, 12:59 pm

Kolkata: Violence erupted in several parts of West Bengal on Saturday during the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, with 13 percent voter turnout recorded by 9 am.

Indian Express reported citing the Election Commission (EC), by this time, around 715 complaints had been filed by political parties.

These complaints included issues such as malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs), polling agents being barred from entering booths, and voters being threatened or prevented from casting their ballots in various constituencies.

Polling is taking place in nine seats in West Bengal under tight security measures: Dum Dum (10.86 percent turnout), Barasat (12.94 percent), Basirhat (15.66 percent), Jaynagar (13.13 percent), Mathurapur (13.54 percent), Diamond Harbour (14.16 percent), Jadavpur (13.46 percent), Kolkata Dakshin (10.16 percent), and Kolkata Uttar (8.92 percent), the report said.

An Assembly bypoll is also taking place in the Baranagar constituency under the Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat, with approximately 11 percent voter turnout recorded.

Reports of violence emerge

In Bhangar, within the Jadavpur constituency, a clash erupted between supporters of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Indian Secular Front (ISF), with crude bombs being thrown by both sides, reported the Indian Express.

When the police arrived, protests ensued, with both parties accusing each other.

The police had to resort to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd and recovered some crude bombs from the area.

The Election Commission has requested an action-taken report on the incident, according to the report.

Later, another clash occurred between TMC and ISF workers in the Phulbari area of Bhangar, prompting the police and central forces to use batons to disperse the mob.

At booth numbers 40 and 41 in Kultali, located in the South 24 Parganas district, an electronic voting machine (EVM) and a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine were reportedly thrown into the water. However, the Election Commission clarified that these were reserve machines, the report said.

“The polling process has not been vitiated. Those which were kept in reserve were thrown in water. We have sought a report from the presiding officer,” said a senior EC official, according to the report.

CEO West Bengal said in a post on X, “Today morning at 6.40 am Reserve EVMs & papers of Sector Officer near Benimadhavpur FP school, at 129-Kultali AC of 19-Jaynagar (SC) PC has been looted by local mob and 1 CU, 1 BU, 2VVPAT machines have been thrown inside a pond.”

It added, “Sector Police was a little behind. FIR has been lodged by Sector Officer and necessary action has been initiated. Poll process in all six booths under the Sector is running uninterrupted. Fresh EVM and papers have been provided to the Sector Officer.”

Meanwhile, in Canning, South 24 Parganas district, three voters sustained head injuries while attempting to cast their votes, alleging that they were attacked by TMC workers, the Indian Express reported.

In the Diamond Harbour constituency, CPIM candidate Pratik ur Rahman reportedly caught fake voters and agents at polling booths.

In the Kolkata Dakshin constituency, BJP candidate Debasree Chaudhuri chased away outsiders from polling stations.

In the Dum Dum constituency, CPIM candidate Sujan Chakraborty assisted his party agent in returning to a polling booth after the agent had been threatened and beaten by TMC workers, the report said.

A total of 1.63 crore voters, including 83.19 lakh men, 80.20 lakh women, and 538 individuals of the third gender, are eligible to cast their votes at 17,470 polling stations.

In Cossipore, within the Kolkata Uttar constituency, BJP candidate Tapas Roy encountered protests from TMC workers after visiting some polling booths and was met with 'go back' slogans. Meanwhile, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee cast his vote at Mitra Institution in the Kolkata Dakshin constituency.

“People are voting in a festive mood in all nine constituencies. The weather has also improved and there is not much heat. This will allow people to come out in large numbers and exercise their franchise. I hope that they will give a befitting reply to the Centre for depriving Bengal of funds in the last five years. There will be a reflection of that in today’s voting,” he said after coming out of the polling booth, according to the report.

Meanwhile, in the Bermajur area of Sandeshkhali, the BJP claimed that TMC workers and police officers threatened its polling agents on Friday night after visiting their homes. The party shared video clips and asserted that the women of Sandeshkhali had once again protested against the TMC government's actions to intimidate people ahead of the final phase of elections.

“The brave women of #Sandeshkhali have chased away corrupt and compromised West Bengal Police. Our women leaders are speaking to them and each one of them will vote against the tyranny of Mamata Banerjee. This is a fight like none other and will be taken to logical conclusion,” BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya wrote in a post on X. 


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