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.
“100 people were stopped from voting. We will take them to cast their vote,” said Sayantan Basu, BJP MP candidate from Basirhat.
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Additional central forces were deployed in Basirhat to control the situation.
Basirhat borders Bangladesh and was hit by communal violence in 2017. TMC has fielded Bengali actor Nusrat Jahan from the seat.
BJP candidate from South Kolkata, Chandra Kumar Bose, equated the TMC to “a terrorist organisation” and alleged that party workers have been threatened by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s “jihadi brigade”.
“Last night, I was getting calls from my workers from different booths that they have been threatened by TMC’s ‘jihadi’ brigade that if you sit as booth agents for BJP, you’ll be murdered. There’s no difference between a terrorist organisation and TMC,” he said.
TMC candidate from South Kolkata Mala Roy alleged that central forces did not allow her to enter a polling booth at Mudiali.
Mamata Banerjee is a voter from South Kolkata.
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.
In Jadavpur, BJP MP candidate Anupam Hazra alleged that TMC workers were casting proxy votes by covering their faces at polling booth number 150/137.
“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.
Voting in Dum Dum’s Nagerbazar and another at South City College under the South Kolkata seat began an hour late due to a snag in the EVMs
Reports of EVM failures also came from several booths in Diamond Harbour, Joynagar, Barasat and Dum Dum.
At 11.30 am, West Bengal had recorded 32.15 per cent voting – the highest in the states and UT where polling is being held.
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.
Voting will end at 6 p.m.
At least 1,49,10,643 eligible voters will decide the fate of 111 candidates in 17,058 polling booths across the nine seats. There are 94 male candidates and 17 female.
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.