Sporadic violence mar sixth phase in Bengal; TMC leader killed hours before polling | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Sporadic violence mar sixth phase in Bengal; TMC leader killed hours before polling

May 25, 2024 06:45 PM IST

The average voter turnout till 5pm was 77.9% in West Bengal in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections held on Saturday

Sporadic violence marred the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on Saturday even as a panchayat-level leader of the ruling-Trinamool Congress (TMC) was killed in East Midnapore district hours before polling began.

Eight Lok Sabha seats went to polls in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on Saturday. (PTI)
Eight Lok Sabha seats went to polls in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal on Saturday. (PTI)

“There were reports of sporadic violence. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought reports from the authorities concerned. There were, however, no reports of any major untoward incidents. The average voter turnout till 5pm was 77.9%,” said a poll panel official in Kolkata.

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Eight Lok Sabha seats – Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur - went to polls in the sixth phase. In 2019 the BJP had won five of the eight seats. Even though the TMC won three seats including Tamluk and Kanthi in East Midnapore these are considered as the bastion of BJP legislator Suvendu Adhikari and his family.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was defeated by Adhikari from Nandigram, which is a part of Tamluk Lok Sabha, in the 2021 assembly elections.

“One person was killed in Mahishadal on Friday night after he was attacked with sharp weapons. He has been identified as Sheikh Maibul. Investigation is going on. Five persons have been detained,” said a police officer.

It was the second murder in the last 72 hours in Tamluk. On Thursday, a BJP woman worker was killed while his son, a BJP local leader, was severely injured.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s Jhargram candidate, Pranat Tudu, was attacked allegedly by TMC workers at Garbeta in West Midnapore. Visuals of massive stone pelting poured in, in which Tudu could be seen running along with security personnel. One security personnel was injured.

“Mamata Banerjee is murdering democracy in Bengal. Now, TMC goons attack BJP’s Jhargram (a Tribal seat) candidate,” Amit Malviya, BJP’s IT cell head, wrote on X.

The TMC, however, said that Tudu and his security men attacked a woman who went to cast her vote.

“BJP candidate and his security personnel assaulted a woman. We condemn this attack on women,” said Chandrima Bhattacharya, minister of state for health in West Bengal.

In many areas TMC workers were seen staging protests against BJP candidates including former Calcutta high court judge, justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, in Tamluk.

At Keshpur, villagers armed with lathis and brooms stopped BJP candidate Hiran Chatterjee from entering the village. Lathi-wielding men could be seen blocking roads with burning tyres.

“None has the guts to protest against me. Their bones would be broken if they do so,” Gangopadhyay told the media.

In all, 79 candidates, many of them high-profile such as Abhijit Gangopadhyay, sitting MPs locket Chatterjee, Deepak (Dev) Adhikari, Saumitra Khan, Subhas Sarkar, actor-turned-politicians such as Rachna Banerjee and Hiran Chatterjee were in the fray in the sixth phase.

Allegations of voters being threatened and booth agents being attacked also poured in since morning from some pockets.

“BJP goons have snatched EPIC cards of voters in some areas in Nandigram. A makeshift bamboo bridge was broken so that voters couldn’t reach the polling station,” Debangshu Bhattacharya, TMC candidate in Tamluk told media.

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