Business Standard

Violence overshadows phase four of Bengal LS polls

IANS  |  Kolkata 

A Union Minister was attacked, Central forces fired in the air after Trinamool Congress backed villagers vandalised a booth, while there were reports of clashes, intimidation and booth capturing as violence overshadowed all other developments in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on Monday.

Union Minister and BJP candidate from Asansol, Babul Supriyo's car was vandalised allegedly by stone pelting Trinamool Congress supporters, but the Minister escaped unharmed with only the rear glass of the vehicle being damaged.

Trouble erupted at Asansol's Barabani after Supriyo went inside a polling booth to ensure his party agents were allowed inside.

"They are trying to stop me. But they won't be able to stop me like this. I will move to ensure that BJP agents are allowed," Supriyo said before leaving the area.

"These men are attacking my car and saying I am resorting to hooliganism. It is a ploy to confine me at a place but I will move," he said.

The BJP leader also alleged that his polling agents were not being allowed entry.

While Trinamool workers alleged that Supriyo and his men had manhandled them, Election Commission (EC) sources said a detailed report has been sought on the matter.

Supriyo later tweeted that three booths (no 169, 113 and 218) under the Raniganj assembly segment had been captured.

The polls were stalled in a booth at Oduma under the Dubrajpur assembly segment of Birbhum constituency where Central forces fired in the air after irate villagers allegedly owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress vandalised the booth.

The villagers clashed with the security forces following a dispute over the depositing of mobile phones, officials said. The CRPF personnel fired in the air to control the situation.

However, Trinamool's Birbhum constituency candidate Satabdi Roy alleged that two persons - a woman and a youth - were injured in the firing by the Central paramiliatary troopers.

"Central forces have resorted to firing. One woman was injured, one youth was injured. Who haS given them such rights? They are going from booth to booth and asking people to vote for the BJP," she said.

"They are also asking whether the BJP agent is present in the booth. Are they BJP agents who have come to the state to ensure the victory of Narendra Modi? They are speaking so rudely, and threatening to fire. There are only four of them in a booth. If people get agitated, can they control?"

Echoing Roy, an angry West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said law and order was a state subject and Central forces have no right to "fire or resort to baton charge".

"Law and order is not a central subject. Even if they want to parade, they have to take the state police along with them. We know the law. The BJP is forcibly misusing the law," Banerjee said.

She also lashed out against the EC, saying the poll panel has no faith on the state police.

Reports have poured in about electoral irregularities in Monday's polling covering eight constituencies spread across the districts of Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan East and Burdwan West and Nadia.

In the Baharampur Lok Sabha constituency, sitting MP and senior Congress leader Adhir Chowdhury accused the Trinamool workers of preventing voters from coming to the polling stations in certain areas.

Chowdhury and Congress leaders accompanying him chased and caught a person purportedly indulging in proxy voting in the Krishnanath College booth, but a crowd of Trinamool workers managed to free him.

Reports of booth capturing and intimidating voters were reported from at least three booths in Birbhum district's Rampurhat and at Ketugram in East Burdwan.

Opposition parties alleged that Trinamool supporters attacked women voters on their way to the polling booths. Central forces rushed to the spot and dispersed the crowd.

Clashes between supporters of different political parties were reported from Birbhum's Nalhai and Nanur - areas notorious for political violence.

Villagers at Law Bagan in Birbhum's Suri were allegedly locked up in a house by Trinamool activists to prevent them from voting, locals said, adding that their electoral photo identity cards were also snatched.

EC officials later entered the village and security personnel took the voters to the polling stations.

--IANS

ssp/bc

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

First Published: Mon, April 29 2019. 16:30 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU