LS Polls Phase 6: Despite extra security in West Bengal, violence mars voting yet again; BJP and TMC trade charges


Kolkata: The presence of additional safety in West Bengal for the sixth part of polling for the Lok Sabha election couldn’t stop violence from breaking out but once more. Eight seats, together with these from across the tribal belt of Purulia and Jhargram, went to the polls on Sunday.

Even earlier than polling may start, stories of political clashes and deaths poured in from throughout these eight seats, particularly East Midnapore, Kanthi and Jhargram. One BJP employee and one Trinamool Congress employee had been discovered lifeless in Jhargram and Kanthi. Two different BJP employees — Ananta Guchait and Ranjit Maity — had been reportedly shot at in East Midnapore’s Bhagabanpur.

The BJP employee who first went lacking on Saturday and was later discovered lifeless late at night time by police has been recognized as Raman Singh. The physique of Sudhakar Maity, the TMC employee who additionally went lacking Saturday, was present in Contai. “Maity was noticed by an area on the nationwide freeway and was dropped at Contai authorities hospital the place docs declared him lifeless. Maity had a political historical past with the Left occasion and he just lately joined TMC,” Kanthi police mentioned. A probe is underway.

Representational picture. PTI

Violence, EVM glitches in polling cubicles

Polling started with a few EVM malfunctions reported from Bankura and Bishnupur. State Election Commission additionally confirmed that an EVM was damaged in Bankura’s Shaltora, which is being thought-about for repolling.

Bankura’s sales space 1 additionally noticed clashes between TMC and BJP supporters. A BJP cadre was allegedly pushed and thrown outdoors the polling sales space by TMC employees. “The EVM was vandalised in front of us and no one could do anything. BJP Bankura candidate Dr Subhash Sarkar — and a couple of media persons — was stuck inside the booth for long time as some unidentified men were chasing them with bricks and sticks,” mentioned Arabinda Das, an eyewitness.

Bankura, Medinipur, Ghatal, Kanthi, Bishnupur, Purulia, Tamluk, Jhargram witnessed a whopping 718 firms of central forces being deployed. However, sporadic violence occurred throughout polling. ADG Law and Order, Siddhi Nath Gupta, at a press convention mentioned, “Twenty-six  had been injured throughout at the moment’s voting. Three suffered bullet accidents. At least 16 had been arrested and the presiding officer of Gahtal sales space quantity 206/207 was suspended and issued a present trigger discover.”

BJP faces uphill battle

For the BJP it was a do or die scenario in Jhargram, Ghatal and Purulia constituencies. While Purulia and Jhargram have already seen a wave of saffronisation, Ghatal seemed like a troublesome nut to crack after at the moment’s clashes, firings by forces and lathi cost within the constituency the place TMC star candidate Dev Adhikary is contesting towards occasion friend-turned-foe ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh.

Bharati’s presence at Ghatal’s Keshpur made the locals indignant. The BJP accused the TMC of “planting outsiders” to create a ruckus within the space.  Bharati was accused of violating the mannequin code of conduct by sending her safety into the polling sales space. Later, her convoy was attacked by unidentified males. One of Bharati’s safety and some media individuals had been injured.

After Bharati’s automobile was attacked, a mob gathered close to Keshpur’s 207/206 sales space. Central forces lobbed tear fuel shells and resort to a lathi cost. Security personnel additionally needed to open hearth to disperse the mob.

Planned assault, claims Bharati

“It is not only about me,” Bharati mentioned. “There are so many people in this convoy. What about their security and life? I did not flout any rules. This is a planned attack.”

BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh mentioned, “Mamata Banerjee is scared of Bharati and her zeal to fight. These are attempts to stop her victory.” Later, even Dilip Ghosh’s automobile was vandalised allegedly by TMC employees in East Midnapore’s Dantan.  TMC candidate Dev instructed media in Keshpur, “Bharati has always flouted rules and she thinks she is above the law. We all know how the police seized lakhs from her car on Friday. I believe in peaceful polling. I don’t understand such provocative measures taken up by the Opposition.”

“Mamata killing sons of West Bengal”

Even as Dev slammed Bharati, BJP’s Mukul Roy tweeted, “Mamata Devi, please don’t get so desperate and stop killing sons of West Bengal. The history will never forgive you…” (sic)

Roy’s cab was stopped twice at Kolkata airport by police and was searched completely. The incident occurred proper after Rs 1.13 lakh was seized from Bharati’s automobile on Friday. Bharati was accused of attempting to sneak the money in. Roy, criticising the police and Mamata mentioned, “I was thoroughly searched while exiting the airport. They stopped me again on the main road. These are not the police, they are all slaves of Mamata. I am sure they feel ashamed to identify themselves as police even to their own children. This is a planned harassment activity by TMC.”

TMC chief Derek O Brein tweeted, “Some BJP candidates, staring at certain defeat, with no support base, deliberately rushing around from polling station to polling station, seeking to create trouble and disturb the peaceful polling in the state.”

Villagers complain of harassment, intimidation

In Bishnupur, villagers boycotted the vote. They claimed central forces had been harassing the boys and never letting girls solid their votes. “There are 4 central forces personnel on responsibility on the sales space. They will not be letting us enter. They requested us to vote for BJP. After we refused, they didn’t let our girls enter the cubicles. They chased us away and threatened to beat up the boys. Thus, we determined to boycott polls,” they mentioned.

A social media submit by a voter named Ananya Jana from Haldia stirred up controversy. In a Facebook submit, she claimed she and her sister had been manhandled at a sales space and compelled to vote for the native TMC candidate. “Democracy is in danger,” she wrote. “Yes, in West Bengal. So, at 11 am today I went to the voting booth, a primary school near my home in Haldia, with my family. The moment we entered there was this guy standing next to the EVM machine. He asked my sister to vote for the TMC candidate.”

The creator is Kolkata-based freelance author and a member of 101Reporters.com

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