Kolkata: Amid elaborate security arrangements, the third phase of polling in West Bengal recorded a high turnout of more than 78 per cent till 1730 hours.
Sporadic violence was reported and some candidates were attacked during the third phase of the elections on Tuesday.
Many voters at a polling booth in Diamond Harbour constituency claimed that TMC workers didn’t let them vote. “Officials came here but didn’t facilitate voting for us,” said a woman.
Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee alleged “blatant misuse” of central forces to “influence voters”.
“The blatant misuse of Central forces continues unabated. Despite us repeatedly raising this issue, @ECISVEEP continues to be a mute spectator, while men in uniform are being misused at several places to openly intimidate TMC voters & influence many to vote in favour of one party,” she tweeted.
Commenting on EVMs and VVPAT found at TMC leader’s house, Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary said that in West Bengal, the administration conducts polls in favour of the ruling party. “That is why, in last Panchayat polls in West Bengal, 34 per cent of voters couldn’t vote. It resulted in an unopposed victory of the ruling party on 20,000 seats”.
TMC worker Sunil Roy died in violence in Hooghly district.
Samiran Mitra, BJP candidate from Hooghly alleges three BJP workers beaten up at Sipaigachi in Haripal of Hooghly.
Senior TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O Brien wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal regarding ‘Gruesome sexual assault on minor girl by CRPF jawan in AC 198-Tarakeshwar, Hooghly’
Clashes broke out between police and the BJP workers at Dubrajpur in Birbhum district on Tuesday, over the death of a party worker. The police use tear gas and lathi-charge to disperse the crowd, resulting in injuries to many protestors and policemen.
A large crowd engaged in a clash with the police in the poll-bound region, forcing the cops to take action against them. The BJP workers claimed that Patihar Dome, BJP Booth Vice-President allegedly murdered by TMC Goons at Dubrajpur.
A BJP supporter was today arrested for allegedly assaulting a TMC candidate at Khanakul seat in the Hooghly when he arrived at a booth after hearing the voters were not allowed to move near the polling booth.
Munshi Nazimul Karim said he was assaulted with bamboo sticks by the BJP activists, who in turn alleged that the candidate came with his followers to create trouble in the peaceful polling process.
The TMC candidate informed the EC and if the central forces had arrived on time he could have been saved from the assault.
With TMC candidates Sujata Mondal and Nirmal Majhi alleging that they were heckled and assaulted by BJP workers, a charge denied by the saffron camp.
Ms Mondal, who is contesting the elections from Arambagh, said saffron party men chased her and hit her on the head when she was out visiting polling booths in Arandi area of the constituency, after having received reports that “voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise”.
“My bodyguards saved my life… I came to know that BJP members were thwarting people from casting their votes in Arandi. I went there to find out what went wrong. I was assaulted, hit with bamboo sticks by saffron party men,” Mondal, estranged wife of BJP MP Saumitra Khan, said.
Her rival and BJP candidate Madhusudhan Bag, when contacted, stated that no one from his party attacked Mondal.
“It was the villagers who put up a resistance when the TMC leader tried intimidating them,” Bag said. A section of villagers also claimed that Ms Mondal had threatened them with dire consequences if they “visit polling booths to cast their vote”.
According to police sources, one of Ms Mondal’s security guards had brought out his revolver to resist the attackers from chasing the TMC candidate.
The Trinamool Congress had filed a complaint with the Elections Commission against the alleged attack on its candidate Sujata Mondal, following her clash with villagers and BJP workers in Arambagh, Hooghly.
The TMC has accused BJP ‘goons’ of harassing Ms Mondal, while the CRPF forces deployed in the region watched the incident as ‘mute spectators. The TMC has sought action from the EC over the incident.