On day 1 of Bengal polls, BJP's Soumendu Adhikari says attacked by TMC workers
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Soumendu Adhikari on Saturday accused Trinamool Congress (TMC) block president Ram Govind Das of indulging in “poll rigging” in three booths in Contai and vandalising his car, as assembly elections got underway in the state.
“Under the leadership of TMC block president Ram Govind Das and his wife, poll rigging was underway at three polling booths. My arrival here created problem for them to continue with their mischiefs, so they attacked my car and thrashed my driver,” Adhikari said, according to news agency ANI.
Watch | Bengal polls: BJP's Soumendu Adhikari's car allegedly attacked by TMC workers
Speaking on the issue, his brother, TMC leader Dibyendu Adhikari, said, “I got to know that his vehicle was attacked in Contai with the help of TMC block president Ram Govind Das. Soumendu isn’t injured. Driver was beaten up. I’ve informed Police observer.”
Soumendu Adhikari, a former leader of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee-headed TMC, is among three members of his family to have joined the BJP from the ruling party; brother Suvendu and father Sisir being the other two. Suvendu Adhikari will face CM Banerjee from the assembly constituency of Nandigram.
On a day 30 out of state’s 294 assembly constituencies went to polls in the first phase, there were reports of clashes between TMC and BJP workers. On the eve of the polls, a vehicle of the Election Commission of India (ECI), was set on fire by alleged miscreants in Purulia. In fact, law and order has been cited by many as a possible reason that the ECI decided to conduct assembly elections in record eight phases in the eastern state.
In contrast, the neighbouring state of Assam, where 47 of its 126 constituencies also went to polls on Saturday, will vote in only three phases: March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, will all vote in a single phase, on April 6. Tamil Nadu, in fact, has 234 assembly constituencies.
Also Read | On poll rigging claims, BJP says ‘Mamata Banerjee under pressure, TMC knows it’s losing’
The West Bengal assembly elections are being seen as a contest primarily between two-term CM Banerjee, who is seeking a third term, and the resurgent BJP, which aims to form its first government in the state.
Counting of votes and result declaration for all four states and one Union territory (Puducherry) will take place on May 2.