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Sporadic incidents of violence mar fourth phase polling in Bengal

BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh heckled

Although the EC claimed that voting has been peaceful so far, it said it had received 1,088 complaints alleging EVM malfunctioning and agents being stopped from entering booths.

Dilip GhoshKOLKATA: Sporadic incidents of violence marred the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls in the eight parliamentary constituencies of West Bengal on Monday as TMC and BJP workers clashed in various parts of violence-hit Birbhum and Bardhaman-Durgapur seats.

Although the poll panel claimed that voting has been peaceful so far, it said it had received 1,088 complaints from different political parties alleging EVM malfunctioning and agents being stopped from entering booths.

Clashes broke out between supporters of TMC and BJP in Monteswar’s Susunia area of Bardhaman-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat around noon, as BJP candidate Dilip Ghosh was on his way to a polling booth following complaints of booth jamming.

As Ghosh was on his way, TMC supporters blocked his convoy and squatted in front of his vehicle, starting a protest against him. Stones were hurled at his convoy, following which some of the cars of the security personnel tailing his convoy were damaged.

Ghosh was also heckled by the TMC activists, sources claimed.

“Police are just mute spectators. The TMC has let loose a reign of terror. Since morning, TMC goons have beaten up our polling agents and are not allowing polling to be free and fair,” Ghosh told reporters.

The TMC, however, denied the charges and claimed Ghosh was “trying to vitiate the atmosphere sensing defeat.”

In Durgapur area of the same constituency, clashes broke out between the TMC and the BJP, following which saffron activists staged a sit-in.

In Birbhum Lok Sabha constituency, BJP workers clashed with TMC activists in Nanoor after saffron party polling agents were allegedly stopped from entering booths.

Tension prevailed in Chapra area of Krishnanagar constituency as BJP workers were allegedly beaten by TMC workers.

Amrita Roy, BJP candidate of Krishnanagar, accompanied two injured persons, Nanda Das and Sukhen Das, to Chapra police station. The TMC has denied the allegations.

The TMC, BJP, and Congress-CPI (M) alliance lodged complaints respectively related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assaults on poll agents in the first few hours of polling, sources from both parties said.

In some areas, TMC workers staged a protest following allegations that central forces were assisting BJP workers in intimidating voters at some booths of Birbhum.

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