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Poll violence continues unabated in West Bengal: TMC and ISF hurl crude bombs, mob throw EVM and VVPAT machines into pond in South Paraganas

Chief Election Officer of West Bengal said that the EVMs and VVPATs thrown into the pond were reserve machines, and the voting process was not disrupted

On Saturday (1st June), violence broke out in several parts of West Bengal as nine constituencies in the state are voting in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. In West Bengal, incidents of violence have been reported in all seven phases, marring the polling process in the state which has been gripped by poll-related violence for more than a decade now. In the South Paraganas, a mob threw EVM and VVPAT machines in a pond, causing hindrance for the polling and security officials. 

According to reports, a clash broke out between supporters of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Indian Secular Front (ISF) at Bhangar in the Jadavpur constituency. Following the violent clashes, supporters of both parties hurled crude bombs at each other. Both the parties held a protest after the Police reached the spot. They raised allegations against each other which forced the Police to resort to lathi charges, disperse the mob, and bring the situation under control. The Police have also recovered some crude bombs from the area. 

According to reports, an angry mob threw an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and VVPAT machine into the pond in West Bengal’s South Paraganas. It is alleged that some of the polling agents were not allowed to sit in the polling booth, after which the mob barged into the polling station, snatched the EVM and VVPAT machines, and threw them into the pond.

The incident unfolded at booth numbers 40 and 41 in the Kultali area in South 24 Parganas district where the mob threw an EVM and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine into the pond. However, the Election Commission stated that they were reserve machines, and the Chief Electoral Office (CEO) in West Bengal informed that an FIR had been filed in this matter.

A Senior EC official clarified, “The polling process has not been vitiated. Those which were kept in reserve were thrown in water. We have sought a report from the presiding officer.”  

Taking to X, the Chief Electoral Office, West Bengal wrote, “Today morning at 6.40 am Reserve EVMs & papers of Sector Officer near Benimadhavpur FP school, at 129-Kultali AC of 19-Jaynagar (SC) PC has been looted by local mob and 1 CU, 1 BU, 2VVPAT machines have been thrown inside a pond. Sector Police was a little behind.”

It added, “FIR has been lodged by Sector Officer and necessary action has been initiated. The poll process in all six booths under the Sector is running uninterrupted. Fresh EVM and papers have been provided to the Sector Officer.”

The saffron party has alleged that in several areas voters are being intimidated to cast their votes in favour of the ruling Trinamool Congress.

In a separate incident, TMC workers heckled BJP candidate Tapas Roy after he visited some polling booths at Cossipore in Kolkata Uttar constituency. The hecklers interrupted his visit and raised ‘go back’ slogans. According to the information received, goons brutally attacked a BJP Karyakarta in booth number 25 in the Sandeshkhali, Boyermari GP area.

BJP has alleged that while violent incidences have been reported in several parts of the state, the worst affected region is Diamond Harbour from where Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and heir apparent is contesting. Taking to X, Amit Malviya said that BJP workers are being intimidated, not allowed to sit in the booths, and their polling documents were destroyed. He alleged that West Bengal Police is acting like Abhishek Banerjee’s henchmen. Even the Muslims have not been spared because a large number of them are voting for CPI(M) candidate Pratikur Rahman. TMC’s ‘secularism’ dies the moment Muslims start voting against it, he added.

In another tweet, BJP leader Malviya added that vigilant people foiled an attempt to capture Booth 271 in Diamond Harbour (West Bengal).

It is alleged that in Bhawanipur, some people tried to abduct BJYM member Raghubir Singh from the BJP office.

Furthermore, the Bharatiya Janata Party said that TMC workers and policemen threatened its polling agents on Friday night. It alleged that the TMC cadre and Policemen visited their homes in the Bermajur area in Sandeshkhali and threatened them. The saffron party shared video clips and said that the women of Sandeshkhali have once again protested against the TMC government’s move to terrorise the people ahead of the last phase of elections.

In the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections, voting is underway in nine seats in West Bengal amid tight security arrangements. These constituencies include Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat (under which Sandeshkhali falls), Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin, and Kolkata Uttar seats.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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