Violence mars Bengal polls, 2 BJP candidates attacked
Kolkata: From two BJP candidates getting attacked and bombs being hurled indiscriminately to political workers smashing an EVM and reports of large scale intimidation coming in from different places — violence yet again marred polling in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on Monday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, suffered injuries on his face after being allegedly attacked by Trinamool Congress supporters, while the car of the party’s nominee from Hooghly, Locket Chatterjee, was reportedly targeted by Trinamool activists.
A few vehicles belonging to different media houses too bore the brunt of the violence during polling to the seven Lok Sacha constituencies in the state.
Violence erupted in North 24 Parganas’ Barrackpore where former Railway Minister and sitting Trinamool MP Dinesh Trivedi is taking on his erstwhile “election-manager” Arjun Singh, who jumped ship to the BJP in March after being denied a ticket by the Trinamool leadership.
Singh sustained injuries on his face after being allegedly attacked by Trinamool Congress supporters outside a polling booth in the constituency’s Aamdanga area.
Reacting to Singh’s allegations, Trivedi said: “The truth will be captured by the media and monitored by the Election Commission. Moreover, Singh is a ‘Baahubali’, how can anyone attack him.”
In Naihati, Singh was chased away by Trinamool workers shouting “Go back, Arjun Singh”. He reached the spot after he heard that outsiders were allegedly scaring away the voters.
In fact, not just in Naihati, each time Singh went to a booth, Trinamool workers surrounded him and staged a demonstration causing disturbance.
In Dhanekhali in Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency, BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee’s car was allegedly damaged by Trinamool workers near booth number 159, where the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was also broken into pieces.
The Trinamool workers staged a noisy demonstration by surrounding Chatterjee, who had come to the booth after receiving reports of rigging by the ruling party workers.
Just after Chatterjee left the booth in her car, miscreants attacked and damaged the vehicle with bamboo poles and sticks. Some cars carrying mediapersons accompanying Chatterjee too came under attack and suffered damages.
Earlier, Chatterjee alleged that there were more than one Trinamool agent inside some polling stations in Dhanekhali, while her party agents were not allowed inside.
“I will not allow anyone to use their influence in voting. I am not at all happy with the deployment of the central forces as they are being misguided by the state police. It is not possible for a human being to keep running to different booths wherever such problems arise,” she said.
Meanwhile, one person was injured after motorbike-borne miscreants rained bombs at Himli, part of the Gaighata Assembly segment under the Bangaon parliamentary constituency. One Trinamool worker sustained head injury in the bombings. His party colleagues alleged that the incident occurred immediately after BJP candidate Shantanu Thakur from Bangaon made a round of the area.
In Gayeshpur in Bangaon, the central forces were seen dispersing the crowd near some polling booths. Outsiders trying to hide in the houses of the locals were also caught by the central forces.
A shocking incident, voters in Bijpur under the Barrackpore constituency were called back from their homes for casting their vote for a second time following some technical glitches. The presiding officer said that on the first occasion, polling had started mistakenly without erasing the mock poll results.
In a booth in Tarakeshwar under the Arambag Lok Sabha constituency, a local Trinamool leader was seen influencing the voters and constantly entering or coming out of the booth. As per sources in the Election Commission, the presiding officer of the said booth was immediately removed.
After reports of violence and death of a voter in the previous phases, the Election Commission has decided that all the polling stations in the state will be manned by the central forces. Altogether, 578 companies of central forces have been mobilised to assist the state police.