West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday held Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) responsible for the political turmoil in parts of the nine Lok Sabha constituencies where polling was held in the seventh and last phase of elections.
“Since morning the torture that BJP workers and CRPF have done during polling in our state, I have never seen it before,” Banerjee told reporters after casting her vote at a polling booth in South Kolkata constituency.
Banerjee’s comment came on the day when sporadic incidents of violence were reported from some of the constituencies and her South Kolkata candidate alleged that central forces did not allow her to enter a polling booth.
The BJP, on the other hand, has written to Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal, alleging violent incidents in 9 parliamentary constituencies of the state.
“We have filed 417 complaints to ECI, out of which 227 were resolved. A whooping number of 190 complaints are unresolved,” the letter stated.
Incidents of violence were reported from parts of West Bengal where polling is being held in the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
West Bengal is the only state where violence has been reported in every phase of the elections.
A BJP camp office in Rajarhat under Barasat constituency was set on fire. Crude bombs were hurled in Raidighi of Mathurapur and voters were allegedly threatened by TMC activists. Clashes between TMC and BJP supporters were reported from Basirhat.
Voters protested outside polling station number 189 in the constituency accusing TMC workers of preventing them from casting their vote. Additional central forces were deployed in Basirhat to control the situation.
Equating the TMC to “a terrorist organisation”, BJP candidate from South Kolkata Chandra Kumar Bose alleged that his workers of his party were threatened by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “jihadi brigade”.
Asansol MP and BJP leader Babul Supriyo said that the violence is Mamata Banerjee fulfilling her “revenge”.
“When the CM is saying she will take revenge, this is nothing new. TMC inherited this from CPI(M). Their credibility is gone. If they keep saying they are not indulging in violence, it dents their image,” he told reporters.
“We are witnessing unprecedented things in Bengal when people are saying ‘bring central forces, let us vote’,” he said underlining the security situation in the state.
In Jadavpur, BJP MP candidate Anupam Hazra alleged that TMC workers were casting proxy votes by covering their faces at some polling booths.
Hazra also alleged that a special symbol was put to mark the TMC’s symbol on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at a polling booth.
The car of BJP candidate for Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency, Nilanjan Roy, was vandalised in Dongaria area of the constituency.
Stones were pelted at BJP’s Kolkata North candidate Rahul Sinha near a polling station at Park Circus area here on Sunday. The leader escaped unharmed but a camera person of a local news channel was injured.
Reports say that bombs were hurled in Bhatpara and a journalist was attacked in Islampur.
Earlier today, the BJP, at a press conference, blamed TMC workers of creating ruckus during polling in every phase of the elections.
The BJP said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is nervous over her “impending defeat”.
Addressing the media, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the BJP fears TMC may indulge in “narsanhar (massacre)” after the end of polling.
“We fear that Bengal Chief Minister’s repeated ‘inch inch ka badla’ threat is emboldening TMC cadres to carry out violence. We are afraid: will TMC start a narsanhar (massacre) there after the end of polling? Thus we demand that central armed police forces be allowed to remain there till the end of model code of conduct,” Sitharaman said.
Meanwhile, TMC candidate from South Kolkata, Mala Roy, alleged that central forces did not allow her to enter a polling booth at Mudiali.
“Women TMC workers with covered faces are casting proxy votes. It is difficult to establish their identity. When we raised objection to it, they created a ruckus at the polling station,” he alleged.
EVM failures, too, were recorded from some poll booths.
Long queues of voters of various age groups were seen outside polling booths in the Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata South and Kolkata North constituencies.
A total of 111 candidates were contesting from the nine seats.
To ensure peaceful polls, 710 companies of central paramilitary forces, 461 Quick Response Teams (QRT) and state police personnel have been deployed in the nine constituencies spread over three districts – Kolkata, 24 Parganas North and 24 Parganas South.