NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: Incidents of violence and skirmishes, particularly in West Bengal and Kashmir, were witnessed as polling was held in 51 seats across seven States in the fifth phase on Monday, with 62.56% overall voter turnout recorded.
The polling on Monday was significant as the BJP had won 39 out of these 51 seats, with its NDA allies bagging two, last time. West Bengal, like in previous phases, recorded an impressive 75% voting, but also saw violence and clashes between Trinamool and BJP supporters.
The BJP accused the ruling party of unleashing violence on its voters and demanded repolling in Barrackpore. The party candidate there alleged that he was attacked by Trinamool workers.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar accused Trinamool “goons” of booth capturing and not letting BJP voters cast their votes by resorting to threats and violence. He also alleged that the Election Commission had not done enough to make the elections free and fair in the state despite the BJP approaching it a number of times.
A team of BJP leaders met the EC’s special observer and special police observer and lodged a complaint accusing Trinamool workers of assaulting their candidates from Barrackpore, Hooghly and Howrah Lok Sabha seats.
Arjun Singh, the BJP candidate from Barrackpore who defected from the Trinamool, was seen bleeding in front of a polling booth at Titagarh. “I wanted to enter the booth to ask the presiding officer why our agents were not allowed inside. Trinamool men waylaid me and assaulted me. The state police personnel too joined them,’’ alleged Singh.
Two persons, including a policeman, were injured when bombs were hurled indiscriminately at Hingla area in Bongaon constituency. BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee’s car was attacked when she arrived at a polling booth in Dhaniakhali. She was allegedly attacked by Trinamool supporters who also smashed EVMs. In Hooghly’s Serampore, BJP candidate Debajit Sarkar was assaulted by alleged Trinamool supporters.
Reports of EVM malfunctioning were also reported in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.EC officials said the Commission had kept a close watch on the incidents in Bengal and action will be decided after reports from local administration.