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Clashes, bombings mark 8th & final phase of ill-tempered Bengal polling

In Kolkata, a very low voter turnout was recorded in the seven seats in the northern part of the city.

Statesman News Service |

Clashes between rival political groups, hurling of crude bombs and attacks on candidates in a few places marred the final phase of polling that was held amidst a significant surge of fresh Covid-10 cases in 35 constituencies of four districts of West Bengal today.

With an overall voter turnout of 76.07 per cent till 5 pm, the highest polling percentage of 81.87 was recorded in 11 constituencies of Birbhum followed by six seats of Malda (80.06) and 11 of Murshidabad (78.07) while the lowest of 57.53 per cent was recorded in the seven seats of Kolkata North.

During the day, there were 835 preventive arrests while four persons were arrested for violating Section 144 of the CrPC and 20 people were arrested for other reasons. A total of 1,179 complaints were registered during the eighth phase. In Kolkata, six persons were arrested in connection with two incidents of bombing. In Jorasanko constituency, crude bombs were hurled outside Mahajati Sadan, the police said.

BJP candidate Meena Devi Purohit alleged that the bombs were thrown at her vehicle while she was touring different polling booths. A huge police contingent was rushed to the spot to control the situation. Earlier, an incident of bombing was recorded at Bidhan Sarani.

Clashes between rival groups broke out in Beliaghata, following which police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse them. Two persons, who identified themselves as BJP activists, alleged that they were roughed up by Trinamul workers during the melee.

In Maniktala constituency, the BJP candidate, footballer Kalyan Choubey, was gheraoed by a group of people during his visit to the polling booths.

Choubey said “TMCbacked anti-socials tried to create disturbances so that they could rig the polls” while Trinamul candidate Sadhan Pande alleged agents of his party were beaten up by the BJP cadres in several booths. Later Trinamul complained that Choubey tried to influence voters in some booths.

The CPI-M alleged Trinamul tried to capture many booths in Belgachia while Trinamul complained that their worker was beaten up in Entally.

In Murshidabad, one person was killed and two others injured as a car hit them hours before the polling exercise began, triggering tension, a police officer said.

The CPI-M alleged that its member Kader Mondal (42) was killed, and two others ~ Asim Al Mamoon (43) and Lal Chand Mondal (42) ~ sustained injuries after Trinamul candidate Jafikul Islam ran his car over them. Islam, the TMC’s Domkal seat candidate, rubbished the allegation, claiming that he was nowhere near the site of the incident.

Chief Election Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab has sought a report from the district authorities in the matter. This apart, several crude bombs were recovered from Domkal.

In Nanoor constituency of violence-prone Birbhum district, BJP candidate Tarakeshwar Saha reportedy suffered injuries after his vehicle was attacked. Saha accused TMC cadres of attacking him, but the allegation was dubbed as “baseless” by local leaders of the TMC.

Clashes were reported in Labhpur and Mayureswar. Voters alleged that central forces lathicharged them while they were returning after voting in Tarapith.

Voting was held in 11,860 polling stations. Long queues were seen outside most polling booths since early morning, raising concern over the spread of Covid-19. In Kolkata, a very low voter turnout was recorded in the seven seats in the northern part of the city.