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Clashes, bombings mar sixth phase ; 79.09 per cent turnout

Barring some sporadic incidents, polling in the sixth phase was peaceful in all the nine Assembly constituencies in North Dinajpur district.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Incidents of clashes between rival political groups and allegations of bomb explosions were reported in some parts of the 43 Assembly constituencies where voting was held during the sixth phase of polling today that recorded an overall voter turnout of 79.09 per cent till 5 p.m.

The CEO will hold a video conference with the Election Commission of India tomorrow to deliberate on whether the remaining last two phases of polls on 26 and 29 April can be clubbed together or not.

A total of 587 people were arrested today of which 392 were preventive arrests and remaining arrests were for violating various sections of the IPC. In this phase, the commission received a total of 1,992 complaints. North 24-Parganas recorded the maximum incidents of violence.

In Bagda, there was an incident of police opening fire following an attack from a crowd that had gathered at the premises of a polling station. Initially, an altercation had ensued when police tried to disperse the crowd and later the crowd attacked police. As a last resort, police fired three rounds.

A section officer and a constable have sustained injuries. Seven people were arrested in this connection. The highest polling percentage was recorded in Nadia (82.67) followed by East Burdwan (82.15), North Dinajpur (77.76) and North 24 Parganas (75.94). Voters complained of EVM malfunctioning in many booths of Tehatta in Nadia and Habra in North 24-Parganas during the first few hours of voting

Clashes broke out in Ashoknagar between TMC and BJP activists, in which bombs were reportedly hurled and a vehicle carrying Central security forces was also vandalised.

The Trinamul Congress alleged that Central forces posted outside booth number 79 in Tangra area opened fire, leaving two of their activists injured after a few party workers protested against BJP candidate Tanuja Chakraborty’s visit to the area.

The ECI however dismissed allegations. Violence was also reported from the Bijpur constituency in North 24-Parganas, where TMC and BJP supporters clashed outside polling booths.

Both the parties accused each other of trying to rig votes. Several incidents of crude bombs exploding were reported in the Barrackpore industrial belt and two persons were arrested. Incidents of clashes between rival party workers and ransacking of camp offices were recorded in Kanchrapara and Khardah.

In the Halisahar area of Naihati constituency in the district, BJP activists alleged that bombs were hurled at the residence of a local BJP leader, whose mother and younger brother are known to have suffered injuries.

In the Titagarh area of Barrackpore constituency, clashes broke out between the Trinamul and the BJP supporters, following which bombs were hurled at each other, leading to severe injuries to five BJP activists.

Film director-turned-TMC candidate Raj Chakraborty was gheraoed in the Barrackpore constituency by BJP supporters, who accused him of influencing voters. Chakraborty however denied the allegations. In the Amdanga, country-made crude bombs were recovered by police personnel.

Barring some sporadic incidents, polling in the sixth phase was peaceful in all the nine Assembly constituencies in North Dinajpur district.

As many as 1,071 companies of central forces have been deployed to ensure fair polling.