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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Sporadic violence in Birbhum & Kolkata caps off final phase with 76% turnout

BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers carrying bamboo sticks and hockey sticks clashed in Rajballav Para in the Beliaghata Assembly constituency here, and allegedly pelted stones at each other.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: April 30, 2021 3:59:55 am
birbhum, Kolkata, West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021, election, Trinamool Congress, West Bengal BJP, BJP TMC clashes, West Bengal last phase voting turnout, West Bengal polls, indian expressCentral forces rush to Mahajati Sadan in Jorasanko where “firecrackers”, earlier believed to be bombs, were burst. (Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

The eight-phase West Bengal Assembly elections concluded on Thursday, with a turnout of 76.07 per cent recorded till 5 pm. The Election Commission (EC) said polling was by and large peaceful, barring a few incidents of clashes between political parties.

BJP and Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers carrying bamboo sticks and hockey sticks clashed in Rajballav Para in the Beliaghata Assembly constituency here, and allegedly pelted stones at each other. A few people were reportedly injured in the violence. Both sides accused each other of obstructing the polling process. The situation reportedly escalated after BJP candidate Kashinath Biswas visited the spot. The Opposition party alleged that TMC supporters threw stones at Biswas. BJP supporters gheraoed the police in protest against the incident.

In central Kolkata, there were reports of bombs being hurled at the vehicle of the BJP’s Jorasanko candidate Meena Devi Purohit in the morning. This triggered panic in the area, with Purohit accusing the TMC of hurling the bombs “to create fear amongst voters”. The BJP leader claimed she was touring the booths in the constituency when the incident occurred.

However, the police claimed firecrackers, not bombs, had been set off outside Mahajati Sadan soon after polling began in the area.

In the Maniktala constituency here, TMC candidate Sadhan Pande alleged that BJP workers had beaten up his agents at several booths.

Pande’s BJP rival Kalyan Choubey accused the ruling party of indulging in hooliganism. “Our polling agent was sitting inside when a 50-year-old woman came to vote instead of a 31-year-old woman. When the agent objected, she was scolded. This is hooliganism of TMC.”

There were also reports of sporadic violence in Birbhum, where the EC had placed TMC district chief Anubrata Mondal under “strict surveillance” earlier this week. BJP candidate Tarakeswar Saha’s vehicle was allegedly attacked in the district’s Nanoor area.

In Mayureshwar constituency’s Binnagari village, BJP candidate Shyamapada Mondal’s brother Biswajit Mondal was allegedly attacked. He reportedly sustained an injury to his nose. The TMC, however, claimed that the Opposition party’s workers had attacked them.

In Bolpur, BJP candidate Anirban Ganguly’s vehicle was attacked and he faced a massive protest in the Dharampur area, where he was chased with bamboo sticks. The police had to resort to a baton charge to disperse the crowd. Several people belonging to the two parties were injured and admitted to hospitals, with some reportedly sustaining serious wounds.

Kolkata North recorded one of the lowest turnouts of the eighth phase with 57.53 per cent. In Malda, 80.06 per cent of the electorate cast their votes while the turnout in Murshidabad was 78.07 per cent. Birbhum recorded 81.87 per cent turnout till 5 pm.

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