Assembly bypolls at Bhatpara were marred by violence as BJP and Trinamool Congress workers allegedly clashed and hurled bombs on Sunday. While clashes were first reported from Arya Samaj School near Kankinara in North 24 Paraganas district, similar incidents were reported from other pockets of Kankinara under Bhatpara Assembly Constituency late evening. Altogether 18 people have been arrested in this connection.
Huge police force and central forces were rushed to the spot. Police also resorted to lathicharge to disperse the trouble makers.
“Trouble started at 2:30pm on Sunday and three persons were injured. Bombs were hurled and three police vehicles were vandalised. Eighteen people were arrested from the area,” said ADG (law and order) Siddhi Nath Gupta. The Election Commission has asked for a factual report from the District Officer in this regard.
According to sources, trouble started when BJP supporters saw TMC candidate Madan Mitra in the area. Soon a scuffle broke out between the supporters of the two parties. Mitra claimed he had gone to check after he got reports of an illegal gathering near a polling booth at Kankinara High School. “Central forces stopped me from going inside and they didn’t even allow a few voters to vote,” Mitra said.
Former TMC MLA and now BJP leader Arjun Singh, whose son Pawan Singh is contesting the bypoll, however, alleged that he was “confined inside a room” by state police. “Mitra created all the problems. He was threatening people and when I tried to stop him, the state police confined me in a room. Till the time I was in TMC, I was a good MLA, and the moment I left the party, they labeled me gunda,” said Arjun.