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4th phase polling in WB marked by FIR against union min,


Press Trust of India Kolkata
An FIR against Union Minister Babul Supriyo, damage to his vehicle, clashes between rivals TMC and BJP, lathicharge by policemen and firing in the air by central forces marked the fourth phase polling in eight Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal on Monday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that there was firing by central forces inside a polling booth in Birbhum district and accused the BJP of misusing the forces in the elections.
An Election Commission official said an FIR was lodged against Supriyo on the EC's instruction for entering a polling station at Barabani under Asansol constituency, where he is the sitting MP.
The EC show-caused the Birbhum BJP candidate after he was seen talking over a mobile phone inside a polling booth just before casting his ballot.
According to reports, Supriyo had an argument with polling officials inside a booth in the polling station following which TMC workers attacked his vehicle outside it, an EC official told PTI.
Supriyo said, "I visited Barabani to witness the polling but found that voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise. Our fight is to establish democracy ... It is shameful that I have to say this in a democratic country."

The attackers broke the rear windshield of his car. Suypriyo was, however, not injured.
Asked to comment on it, TMC's Asansol candidate actor-turned politician Moon Moon Sen said she had no knowledge about the clashes as she woke up late.
"They provided me my bed tea very late so I woke up quite late. What can I say? I really don't know," Sen told a national TV news channel.
She declined to comment when asked about the allegations made by Supriyo. "I don't want to hear his name. Bas (that's it)".
An EC official said that voters fled a polling station at Jemua in Bardhhaman-Durgapur constituency, where BJP leader S S Ahluwalia is in the fray, after being threatened by miscreants.
There were clashes between supporters of rival TMC and BJP at Nanoor, Rampurhat, Nalhati and Suri areas of Birbhum constituency in which several people were injured.
At Dubrajpur area of the constituency security personnel reportedly fired in the air to control a mob which allegedly engaged in a scuffle with the central forces when they were barred from entering the booths with mobile phones.
Following this polling was stalled in these booths, the official said.
A combative Banerjee, who is among the most severe critics of the saffron party, accused it of misusing the law, bringing in central forces without depending on the state police and thereafter using them in garnering votes for itself.
She said that she had heard that CRPF had fired inside a polling booth at Dubrajpur.
"I am yet to the detailed report .... law and order is a state subject and it is not the job of the central forces to enter any polling booth as they are deployed to keep vigil outside it. They do not have the right to lathicharge or fire," the TMC supremo said.
"We know the law .... Law and order is a state subject and not a central subject. I have heard that complaints were made (before the EC) that the central force personnel have gone inside booths and asked people to vote for the BJP. This will not help the BJP," she told a rally at Bagda in North 24 Parganas district.
Banerjee said that central forces, even if they have to conduct a route march are required to do it along with the state police. "But the BJP do not trust the Bengal police. The police are on security duty during the Durga Puja, Diwali. However, during elections you need policemen from Delhi".
The EC show-caused Birbhum BJP candidate Dudh Kumar Mondal after he was seen talking over a mobile phone inside a polling booth just before casting his ballot.
The EC official said that the presiding officer of the polling station has been removed after the incident.
The poll body had put TMC Birbhum president Anubrata Mondal, known for his controversial remarks, under scanner after poll workers complained that they feel "threatened" by his presence.
At Hanskhali under Ranaghat constituency a woman voter was crticially injured in bomb throwing by political workers outside a polling station, Nadia district election officer Sumit Gupta said.
Accusing the TMC of rigging the polls in almost every booth, BJP's Krishnanagar candidate Kalyan Chaubey said voters in several areas were not allowed to cast their ballots.
"The TMC goons jammed booths at Chapra, Dompukur and Hatisala areas of Krishnagar constituency. The central forces guarded the booths but people beyond the mandatory 100-metre radius were warned against casting their votes. I was also threatened by some of them," he claimed.
Rejecting the charges, TMC Krishnagar candidate Mahua Maitra said the accusations were baseless and had no truth in them.
"They (BJP) do not have a support base in the constituency so they could not appoint enough observers for the polling stations. Now, they are giving excuses. The allegations are baseless," she added.
A total of 1,34,56,491 electorate decided the fate of 68 candidates in the eight parliamentary seats of Baharampur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat (SC), Burdwan East (SC), Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur (SC) and Birbhum during the day.
The EC had deployed 580 companies of central forces to man over 98 per cent of the polling booths in these constituencies to ensure free and fair polls.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 8:05 PM IST

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