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Saga of violence continues in West Bengal as assault and intimidation mar polling: BJP candidate Arjun Singh says TMC workers threatened to shoot him

On 20th May, the fifth phase of voting is underway from 7 AM and voters will decide the fate of candidates in seven Lok Sabha constituencies namely Bangaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Srerampur, Hooghly, and Arambagh.

West Bengal, which already witnessed poll violence in the first four phases of the polling during Lok Sabha elections, has seen an uptick in violence during the fifth phase with reports of assault, intimidation, and even hospitalisation of several BJP workers within the first few hours of the polling.  

According to ABP Ananda, 471 complaints were registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the first two hours of polling during the fifth phase. The principal opposition party in the state, BJP, has submitted 22 complaints while CPI-M has given 25 complaints. Incidentally, the ruling party in the state, Trinamool Congress has also submitted 30 complaints to the ECI. 

Violence erupted in Howrah’s Salkia in Bengal hours before polling began at 7 AM. The Bharatiya Janata Party said that its workers were assaulted by TMC members in the ensuing violence.  

BJP candidate Arjun Singh said that TMC workers in Barrackpore have been intimidating voters, adding that they even threatened to kill him. He added, “They even threatened to shoot me.”  

As per media reports, TMC workers later started heckling Arjun Singh in Kanchrapara after he accused a TMC polling agent of being an “outsider”. Arjun Singh had gone to the spot to verify a woman’s allegations that she was not being allowed to vote. The police later brought the situation under control.

In Howrah’s Liluah, a presiding official at polling station number 176 was allegedly assaulted by polling agents over a delay in the starting of the voting procedure. It is said that voting started there after over an hour. The poll body has sought an action taken report on the matter.

In Kalyani, it is reported that voters were threatened to discourage voting. After suffering injuries in an attack in Gayeshpur, a BJP worker was rushed to the Kalyani-AIIMS hospital. BJP candidate Shantanu Thakur went to meet the injured party worker later.

On her visit to Dhanekhali village, BJP candidate from Hooghly, Locket Chatterjee said that TMC agents were sitting with slips at “voter sahayata Kendra”, asking people to vote for Rachana Banerjee, the Trinamool candidate from Hooghly. TMC workers later had a verbal altercation with Locket Chatterjee at one booth. Chatterjee added that TMC bribed an ASHA worker to function as a polling agent in lieu of money.

While speaking to reporters, Chatterjee said, “She (ASHA worker) has been instructed to ask people to vote for Rachana. She is a Trinamool agent working as an assistant in booths asking people to vote for TMC. There is no other party slip with her.” 

According to the BJP, TMC workers have also been blocking voters from voting in Hooghly. BJP also said that TMC workers have been ‘jamming booths’ in the North Howrah region.

Meanwhile, in Jangipara, a central paramilitary force jawan was tied to a lamp post and brutally assaulted over allegations of sexually harassing a woman at her house. Similarly, in Uluberia, a BSF jawan was removed from poll duty over the allegations of ‘outraging modesty of a woman’. The Bengal Police has begun an investigation. 

As per reports, BJP’s camp in Serampore was vandalised after which the security forces have been on high alert to prevent any more untoward incidents.

A BJP Panchayat Deputy Head Tapan Bagh was also attacked amid reports of clashes with TMC workers in Arambagh’s Khanakul town. As per reports, Tapan Bagh suffered severe head injuries in the clashes. The Police said that two persons have been detained in the matter.

Furthermore, clashes reportedly broke out between BJP candidates and TMC workers in the North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Four BJP workers including a woman suffered grievous injuries in an attack in North 24 Parganas’s Swaroopnagar.

On 20th May, the fifth phase of voting is underway from 7 AM and voters will decide the fate of candidates in seven Lok Sabha constituencies namely Bangaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Srerampur, Hooghly, and Arambagh.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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