April 22, 2021 4:02:40 am
Just a day ahead of the voting for the sixth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal, one person was killed and another was seriously injured in a crude bomb explosion inside an abandoned house near Titagarh railway station in North 24 Parganas district.
Police suspect that the two were involved in making crude bombs when it went off accidentally.
There were reports of bombs being thrown near BJP MP Arjun Singh’s house in Jagatdal and Kanchrapara in North 24 Paraganas district.
Barrackpore in North 24 Paraganas district has been a hotbed of political violence for the last few years.
“The TMC is trying to instil fear. We have asked police so many times to raid and seize arms and explosives. Many criminals against whom non-bailable warrants are pending are roaming free and haven’t been arrested,” said BJP MP Arjun Singh.
Refuting the charges, TMC minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said, “It is BJP’s frustration. They know that their defeat is imminent. They are going to lose in all the Assembly seats in the district.
In fact, BJP has been bringing in outsiders to unleash violence in the area. The residents of the area know how to reject violence and would give a befitting reply to the BJP on May 2 when counting will be held,” said Mullick.
Tensions have been simmering in Barrackpore, which is part of the industrial belt in the North 24 Parganas district, since last year’s Lok Sabha elections. BJP youth leader and former councillor of Titagarh Municipality Manish Shukla was shot in Titagarh last October. BJP has fielded Chandramani Shukla, the father of Manish Shukla, against popular director Raj Chakraborty from Barrackpore seat.
The Election Commission has deployed 107 companies of the Central forces in the Barrackpore police district alone for Thursday’s voting, and 779 companies in total.
Voting for the sixth phase will take place in 43 Assembly segments spread across four districts – North 24 Parganas (17), Nadia (9), Uttar Dinajpur (9), Purba Bardhaman (8). Of them, TMC had won in 33 seats— 4 in Uttar Dinajpur, 8 in Nadia, 14 in North 24 Parganas, and 7 in Purba Bardhaman — in the 2016 Assembly polls. The alliance of the Left Front and Congress had won 10 — 5 seats in Uttar Dinajpur, 1 in Nadia, 3 in North 24 Parganas and 1 in Purba Bardhaman.
This time, the voting will place amid the surging Covid-19 cases in the state as well as the country.
It will also put in place measures to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols during the voting process, an official said.
A total of 306 candidates, including TMC ministers, are in the fray in the sixth phase. Prominent among them are BJP leader Mukul Roy from Krishnanagar Uttar (Nadia district), CPI(M) sitting MLA Tanmoy Bhattacharya, TMC ministers Chandrima Bhattacharya from Dum Dum Uttar (North 24 Parganas District), Jyotipriya Mullick from Habra, and Ujjal Biswas from Krishnanagar Dakshin.
The last two phases of the Assembly election will be held on April 26 and April 29, with the counting on May 2.
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