Clashes and Chaos: Final Phase of West Bengal Polls Disrupted by Violence

Sporadic incidents of violence marred the final phase of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal. Clashes between TMC, ISF, and BJP resulted in multiple complaints of EVM malfunctions and voter intimidation. Police interventions, including lathi charges, aimed to control the chaos, but frustrations over alleged electoral misconduct persisted.

PTI | Kolkata | Updated: 01-06-2024 12:35 IST | Created: 01-06-2024 12:35 IST
Clashes and Chaos: Final Phase of West Bengal Polls Disrupted by Violence
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Sporadic incidents of violence marred the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha polls in the nine parliamentary constituencies in West Bengal, as TMC, ISF and BJP workers clashed in various parts of violence-prone Jadavpur and Diamond Harbour constituencies.

Although the poll panel has claimed that voting has been peaceful so far, it said it has received 1,450 complaints until 11 am from different political parties alleging EVM malfunctions and agents being stopped from entering booths.

Around 28.10 per cent of over 1.63 crore voters exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling to the nine Lok Sabha seats, an Election Commission official said.

Clashes broke out between supporters of the TMC, ISF and the BJP in different pockets of the state as the parties clashed over stopping polling agents from entering booths.

A confrontation erupted in Bhangar within Jadavpur constituency between backers of Trinamool Congress and the Indian Secular Front (ISF), with allegations of crude bombs being hurled from both sides.

Police intervention ensued, triggering protests as both factions accused each other.

To quell the situation, security personnel resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the mob, recovering several crude bombs.

Angry voters of Kultuli within Joynagar constituency took drastic measures by hurling electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VV-PAT) machines into nearby waterbodies. Their actions were fueled by feelings of electoral misconduct, reflecting their frustration over perceived voting restrictions.

''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,'' the office of CEO West Bengal posted on X.

''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,'' it further said.

TMC supporters have accused the ISF of orchestrating the violence to intimidate voters. Prompt action from local law enforcement led to lathi charges and the arrest of suspects in Polerhat area of Bhangar.

Another incident occurred where the vehicle of an ISF worker was vandalized in Baghajatin area. Accusations have been leveled against Trinamool Congress supporters for the alleged incident..

In Diamond Harbour, the pocket borough of TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who is also seeking re-election, witnessed clashes between TMC and BJP supporters as the saffron party candidate Abhijit Das alleged malpractices by the ruling party. The TMC, however, denied the allegations. In Jadavpur area's Ganguly Bagan, CPI(M) workers were allegedly beaten by the TMC activists and their camp offices were ransacked. The TMC, however, denied the allegations and accused the Left party of intimidating the voters.

The state Congress unit wrote to CEO Aariz Aftab requesting him to take stern action against alleged irregularities and rigging that are taking place in various pockets.

In Bermajur area of Sandeshkhali, the BJP made allegations that TMC workers, accompanied by policemen, intimidated its polling agents by visiting their homes on Friday night.

Backed by video evidence, the party asserted that the women of Sandeshkhali had expressed their discontent against the TMC government's actions, portraying them as attempts to intimidate the populace ahead of the final phase of elections.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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