Sporadic incidents of violence, including assault on journalists and damage to vehicles, were reported from West Bengal on Monday as seven constituencies of the state went to polls in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections.
At Tetulia village in Amdanga, which falls under Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency, TMC workers allegedly ransacked BJP candidate Arjun Singh’s vehicle and also thrashed media persons. Two Indian Express journalists were among those injured in the violence.
The incident happened when Singh, who recently switched over to BJP from TMC, reached Tetulia village after receiving reports that BJP workers were being intimidated and its polling agents were not being allowed to enter the booth.
However, TMC workers allegedly stopped Singh from entering the booth and manhandled him while he was leaving. With the incident garnering media attention, the TMC workers also attacked journalists who were clicking pictures of the unrest.
Soon, the miscreants started pelting stones at the media personnel and also beat them up with lathis. One Indian Express photographer suffered injuries in the head after being hit by a stone.
The perpetrators also blocked roads with tree logs to prevent the vehicles from passing through. They vandalised vehicles of media personnel and broke the window panes with bricks as they were leaving the area.
A journalist injured in the attack said no police personnel was present during the violence and Central forces did not come out to control the situation despite the incident taking place just metres away from the polling booth.
He further said that the TMC workers threatened them with crude bombs if they did not leave the place. The journalists were finally able to leave the area after security personnel accompanying Singh removed the tree logs from the road.
Earlier in the day, Singh was involved in another scuffle with Central forces after the BJP leader tried to enter a booth in Mohanpur following allegations that voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise there.
“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.
In Barrackpore seat, Singh is pitted against TMC sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi. Singh switched over to the BJP recently after he was denied a ticket by party supremo Mamata Banerjee.