The Lok Sabha elections entered its last phase today. West Bengal’s scenario has been no different from the previous phases. Reports of severe violence before and during the last seventh phase of polls have started pouring in.
A night before the polls, clashes reportedly broke out between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers in Bhatpara district in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal after BJP leader Arjun Singh was allegedly shot at by Trinamool goons. Bombs were hurled and two vehicles were set on fire in Bhatpara which goes in to vote today. Assembly bypolls are also being conducted in Bhatpara constituency today.
Both parties blamed each other for the attack. Trinamool Congress claimed that people from outside were brought into the area by the BJP who were allegedly behind the violence.
The two main candidates contesting in the constituency are Madan Mitra of the Trinamool Congress and Pawan Singh of the BJP.
Arjun Singh, the BJP leader who was shot at today, is the father of Pawan Singh. Arjun Singh had resigned from the Bhatpara assembly seat and had decided to contest as a BJP candidate from the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.
Notably, Madan Mitra is an accused in the Saradha chit fund scam and had been released from Alipore jail three years back after staying in there for two years.
Moreover, Barasat constituency in West Bengal has also been marred by violence. BJP office in Kadampur district, Phulia, Barasat has been vandalised. Chairs and the temple in the office have been broken and the curtains were set ablaze. BJP has alleged Trinamool workers were behind the attack.
Barasat constituency: BJP camp office vandalised.
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Bengal has been marred by political violence since the beginning of the Lok Sabha elections. BJP workers have been targeted by the Trinamool goons in almost all the phases of the ongoing polls. BJP worker Raman Singh was found dead in Jhargram, West Bengal. Two BJP workers Ananta Guchait and Ranjit Maity were reportedly shot at in Bhagabanpur in East Medinipur.
Sporadic incidents of similar violence were reported in the previous five phases in different parts of West Bengal.
A BJP worker named Prashant Sharma was brutally beaten up by some unidentified people in Frasor Road during phase 5 of the ongoing elections. Similarly, BJP candidate from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, was reportedly attacked by goons associated with the Trinamool Congress. BJP District President in Hooghly, Pranab Mondal Saha, had alleged that he was thrashed by Trinamool goons while he was on his way to meet a fellow member of the party Khokon Biswas.
Moreover, there were reports of massive violence from Asansol in the fourth phase of elections. Crude bombs had been found at a polling booth in Krishnanagar, West Bengal and also bombs have been recovered from a polling booth in Santipur, Nadia district.
Threats, intimidations, bomb attacks, proxy voting have also been recorded in some of the Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.
Similarly, TMC workers had clashed with BJP workers inside a polling booth in Chopra, Darjeeling.
Incidentally, the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls was no different for West Bengal, Where elections are often greeted with violent skirmishes and clashes between competing parties. Violence and rampant polling malpractice were reported from Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, that had gone to polls in the first phase of the elections.
Moreover, following the widespread violence observed during the ongoing elections in West Bengal, the Election Commission had taken the unprecedented step of cutting short election campaigning for the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha election in Bengal.