Congress candidate brandishes pistol after clash with BJP workers in Jharkhand
Congress candidate KN Tripathi allegedly brandished a pistol after his supporters clashed with those of the BJP candidate Alok Chaurasiya at a polling booth at Jharkhand’s Daltonganj assembly constituency Saturday morning, official said.
The clash took place at Koshiyara polling booth in Chainpur block of Daltonganj assembly constituency in Palamu district. In another incident of violence, Maoists blew up a culvert on Gumla-Lohardaga border soon after the voting began in the first phase of polls in Jharkhand. However, no casualty was reported and election officials claimed that the poll process was unaffected by the incident.
Polling is underway in the first phase of elections to 13 of the 81 seats of the Jharkhand legislative assembly.
BJP supporters allegedly attacked Tripathi’s convoy and pelted stones on it after the Congress candidate reached booth number 72 and 73 at Upgraded Middle School at Koshiyara. Chaurasia’s supporters allegedly prevented him from entering booth, surrounded him from all sides and started abusing his supporters. Later, Tripathi was seen in a widely shared video brandishing a pistol in his defence in a bid to escape mob’s fury.
The area where the incident happened is supposed to be a stronghold of the BJP candidate Alok Chaurasia.
Chaurasai’s supporters also chased Tripathi, pelting stones at his convoy breaking the window panes of three of his vehicles. Tripathi’s bodyguards somehow managed to keep the mob at bay and evacuate him. The Congress and the BJP candidates traded charges after the violence.
“I just escaped a deadly attack by Chaurasia’s supporters. They crushed my Fortuner vehicle. I somehow managed to move away. I informed the election commission, senior police and civil officers about poor security arrangements. Only home guards were deployed at highly sensitive booths to ensure booth capturing by the ruling party candidate. The administration helped the ruling party capture at least eight booths in my constituency,” Tripathi told HT on phone.
On the other hand, the BJP leaders alleged that the Congress candidate was trying to intimidate voters to influence voting. BJP spokesperson Pratul Nath Shahdev said, “The incident shows that the Congress candidate has lost faith on ballot and is relying on bullets to win the election. We demand from election commission of India immediate action against him.”
Police officials did not take HT’s calls.
The state election commission has taken cognizance of the incident and has sought a detailed probe report from the Palamu district administration in this regard.
Additional chief electoral officer Shailesh Chaurasia said, “The commission took cognizance of the incident and district election officer has been asked to probe into the matter and take action accordingly. The firearm has been seized from Tripathy’s possession. The incident, however, did not affect the smooth conduct of polling.