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Sporadic violence in WB, over 50 pc polling till 1 pm

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported during polling in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha election in seven seats of West Bengal on Monday, with 50.64 per cent of nearly 1.17 crore voters casting their ballots till 1 pm, an official said.

Incidents like clashes between TMC and BJP workers, hurling of bombs, injury of a candidate due to lathi charge by central forces, manhandling of a contestant and beating up of a polling agent were reported.

Of the seven constituencies, Bangaon (SC), Barrackpore, Hooghly and Howrah constituencies reported such incidents of violence, the official said.

The other three seats are Uluberia, Arambagh (SC) and Sreerampore.

"So far polling is good but some stray incidents of violence were reported from a few places. We have taken immediate steps in these places as per requirement," he said.

A scuffle between Barrackpore seat's BJP candidate Arjun Singh and central forces was reported when the former TMC MLA tried to enter a booth following allegations that voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise there, the official said.

Singh who was allegedly injured during the scuffle, was later seen chasing "fake voters" in Naihati area.

"Our agents were not allowed inside booths. People were not allowed to vote properly and I went there to have a look. I have the right to enter booths but police stopped me and hit me," Singh told PTI.

Alleging that the police are not doing anything to stop rigging in some booths of Barrackpore seat, Singh demanded that polling be stopped and re-polling ordered.

The maximum number of "sensitive" booths in Monday's elections is in Barrackpore seat where TMC sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi has been pitted against Singh, who switched over to the BJP recently after he was denied a ticket by party supremo Mamata Banerjee.

In Howrah's Balitikuri, TMC candidate and former India footballer Prasun Bandyopdhayay was "manhandled" allegedly by central forces when he tried to enter a booth there.

Bandyopadhyay said, "I had gone there to see poll proceedings. There was nothing wrong in it. But the central forces msanhandled me for no reasons."

An FIR was lodged in this connection, he said.

Bombings were reported from outside a booth at Hingli in Bangaon constituency following a clash between two groups allegedly owing allegiance to the TMC and the BJP, in which two persons were injured, the official said.

There is also a report that a CPI(M) agent was beaten up and driven out of a booth in Arambagh constituency.

At a booth in Hooghly seat, BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee was seen threatening a polling officer. She is contesting the poll against TMC's two-term MP Ratna De Nag.

A presiding officer at a booth in Tarakeswar was removed after one person, allegedly a TMC leader, was seen casting votes on behalf of others there.

"We have removed him and brought in another official in his place," the official said.

Of the seven constituencies, Howrah recorded the maximum with 55.97 per cent till 1pm, followed by Uluberia 54.39 per cent, Arambagh (SC) 53.84 per cent, Sreerampore 52.99 per cent, Hooghly 51.60 per cent, Bongaon (SC) 49.42 per cent and Barrackpore 46.26 per cent, the official said.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP, the Congress and Left Front constituent CPI(M) are the main contenders in the seven seats where the fate of 83 candidates will be decided by a 1,16,91,889-strong electorate.

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

First Published: Mon, May 06 2019. 15:35 IST