Despite the conclusion of the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, violence raged across West Bengal on Tuesday, even as the CPM-led Opposition questioned the integrity of the Election Commission’s(EC) Special Observer. And voters, who chose to defy the orders of the Trinamool Congress(TMC) workers to keep off Monday’s polls in 17 seats, were attacked and their homes vandalised.
In Naihaiti in North 24 Parganas district, the TMC workers allegedly threw bombs at the home of ex-serviceman Sunirmal Biswas. “We were told not to vote by some TMC youth,who came during the night. However, three of our family members went to cast their ballots following the assurance given by the people of our locality. Early today (on Tuesday) bombs were hurled at our house,” said Biswas’ wife.
In Dhanekhali in Hooghly district, where repolling was held, armed TMC workers allegedly attacked the polling agents of the BJP. BJP Rajya Sabha member and nominee for Hooghly seat Chandan Mitra said, “Despite my warning to the district administration, armed motorcycle-borne TMC men had warned our polling agents.” “After the polling was over, the TMC workers attacked our agents, while they were returning. Three of our workers have been admitted to hospital with serious injuries sustained in the attack,” he added.
Clashes between the TMC and CPM activists took place in the villages, where the Trinamool has a relatively weak presence. In Balaramapur in Purulia, a Congress worker was allegedly kidnapped by the TMC activists.
And several persons sustained injuries in the violent stand-off involving the TMC and Opposition activists in Howrah and Murshidabad districts. Also, the houses of Opposition Left Front(LF) activists came under attack from the armed TMC activists in neighbouring North and South 24 Parganas, which resulted in injuries to several persons, including a pregnant woman and child.
The LF took out a march in various parts of the state to protest against the rampant violence and alleged rigging of the polls.
Meanwhile, the Opposition parties questioned the integrity and impartiality of Special Observer Sudhir Kumar Rakesh. And state BJP secretary Ritesh Tewari demanded a probe into Rakesh’s decision to leave on a 24-hour visit to Patna before the third phase of elections on April 30 after “neglecting his duties as poll observer”. Similarly, state Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury questioned the motive behind the observer’s whistle-stop visit.”He later acted under the influence of the TMC and we certainly question his visit,” he said.