Amid Sporadic Violence, Over 77% Exercise Franchise In West Bengal

Amid Sporadic Violence, Over 77% Exercise Franchise In West Bengal

Incidents of violence started at Cooch Behar soon after the poll began at 7am on Friday

Aritra SinghaUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 10:52 AM IST
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Amid Sporadic Violence, Over 77% Exercise Franchise In West Bengal | Representational Image

Kolkata: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal on Friday as North Bengal's three districts — Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri — went to polls. Incidents of violence started at Cooch Behar soon after the poll began at 7am. A voter in Sitalkuchi in the district sustained a serious eye injury in the stone pelting. He accused Trinamool Congress supporters of targetting him. In Cooch Behar’s Sitai, TMC and BJP men clashed.

Bethguri TMC block head Anant Barman was hospitalised after BJP men allegedly thrashed him. In Mathabhanga, poll staff was locked in a room by miscreants after which TMC supporters agitated and claimed central forces allegedly helped BJP in intimidating the voters. In Falimari, police recovered nine explosives 200 metres away from a polling booth. In Dinhata, TMC minister Udayan Guha was stopped by agitating women after a BJP panchayat member was allegedly arrested.

Though Udayan accused BJP of the ruckus, party MP and Union Minister of State for Home Nisith Pramanik said people will give a befitting reply to TMC. “In democracy, the voice of people is everything. They are celebrating the festival of democracy and will give befitting reply to TMC as they have understood the atrocities of the ruling TMC,” said Pramanik. At Dabgram-Fulbari in Jalpaiguri, police tried to stop and arrest BJP MLA Sikha Chatterjee and alleged she is wooing the voters.

Ruckus in Siliguri

Ruckus was reported in Siliguri where BJP MLA Sikha Chatterjee accused TMC supporters of casting fake votes. Amid chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Joy Bangla’, a fake voter with his two fingers inked ran outside the the booth on seeing the media, leading to the closure of the gates. A fake polling agent was also found and removed from in a booth in Siliguri. Three of the 42 constituencies that went to polls have BJP MPs. Till 5 pm, the vote turnout in Cooch Behar was 77.73 per cent, Jalpaiguri 75.54 per cent and Alipurduar 79.33 per cent. According to poll analyst Shubhomoy Moitra, the voting turnout is normal in keeping with the poll percentages of previous elections.

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