Opposition BJP, which has termed the election process as a mockery of democracy, on Monday declared a 12-hour shutdown to protest the violence. Describing the allegations as baseless, the Trinamool Congress said the opposition was trying to find excuses by realizing defeat.
There have been some incidents of violence
Amid tight security and strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines, 76.51 percent of 95.6 million voters exercised their franchise in more than 2,000 wards by 5 p.m. “There are reports of sporadic incidents of violence,” said a senior State Election Commission official. Some complaints have been received. We have taken action by finding disruption in some areas.
West Bengal DGP Manoj Malaviya said the polling was peaceful and there were no reports of “deaths or shootings”. Malviya said there have been some sporadic incidents and police have taken action in all cases of violence.
Collision with police
However, there have been reports of widespread violence, scams and clashes with police in various parts of Bengal from north to south. State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “What happened today is not a vote but a mockery of democracy.” A 12-hour Bengal Dam has been declared in protest.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday called on state Election Commissioner Sourav Das to brief him on the situation. In the Dalkhola area of North Dinajpur district, Congress workers clashed with police over allegations of harassment by Trinamool supporters. They blocked roads and hurled stones at police officers, prompting police to use batons to disperse the crowd.
Complaint of irregularity
Violence and clashes were reported in Dhulian municipal area of Murshidabad district when police tried to stop alleged irregularities by TMC activists. Party workers hurled stones and bricks at police, who fired batons and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The situation in Bhatpara municipality of North 24 Parganas was tense as sporadic clashes broke out between Trinamool Congress and BJP supporters.
The BJP candidate broke the EVM in the ward after being accused of scam by Trinamool Congress members. Trinamool has denied the allegations. The commotion erupted in Kamarhati area of North 24 Parganas district when miscreants on bikes hurled bombs in the area to intimidate voters. In retaliation, angry locals beat up some miscreants and vandalized some vehicles. Unidentified thugs destroyed EVMs in many parts of the state.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary was seen running from one area to another in Murshidabad district as reports of beatings by Congress and Left parties surfaced in the media. In Behrampur municipality, Trinamool Congress workers staged an agitation against Chaudhary’s car. He alleged that he was reaching the polling booths to intimidate the polling agents of Trinamool Congress and to influence the voters. Chaudhary termed the allegations as baseless.
Prevented voters from reaching the center
In various municipal areas of North 24 Parganas, political activists on motorcycles roamed the streets and allegedly prevented voters from going to the polls. Media personnel covering the civil election were also not spared as some journalists, photographers and cameramen were beaten. Some journalists have been hospitalized.
The Left Front candidates were allegedly beaten up by Trinamool Congress goons in Arambagh area of Hooghly district, but the ruling party denied the allegation. After statewide violence, the BJP marched to the Kolkata police headquarters Lalbazar, while the Congress set fire to a statue of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee outside the SEC office.
Reacting to allegations of widespread violence, Trinamool Congress general secretary Partha Chatterjee said, “If the opposition does not have polling agents, we cannot be blamed. The opposition must be blamed for today’s election violence. The BJP has called for a ceasefire tomorrow.”