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2 TMC candidates claim assault by BJP men; saffron party denies

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
April 06, 2021 16:12 IST
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Clashes were reported from several parts of Bengal, where polling is underway in the third phase of assembly elections, with Trinamool Congress candidates Sujata Mondal and Nirmal Majhi alleging that they were heckled and assaulted by Bharatiya Janata Party workers, a charge denied by the saffron camp.

 

IMAGE: Voters stand in queues to cast their votes during the third phase of West Bengal Assembly polls, in Howrah, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Mondal, who is contesting the elections from Arambagh, said saffron party men chased her and hit her on the head, when she was out visiting polling booths in Arandi area of the constituency, after having received reports that 'voters were not being allowed to exercise their franchise'.

"My bodyguards saved my life... I came to know that BJP members were thwarting people from casting their votes in Arandi. I went there to find out what went wrong.

"I was assaulted, hit with bamboo sticks by saffron party men," Mondal, estranged wife of BJP MP Saumitra Khan, said.

Her rival and BJP candidate Madhusudhan Bag, when contacted, stated that no one from his party attacked Mondal.

"It was the villagers who put up a resistance when the TMC leader tried intimidating them," Bag said.

A section of villagers also claimed that Mondal had threatened them with dire consequences if they 'visit polling booths to cast their vote'.

According to police sources, one of Mondal's security guards had brought out his revolver to resist the attackers from chasing the TMC candidate.

Villagers, armed with bamboo sticks, however, drove him away, the sources said.

Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab has sought a report from poll personnel in Hooghly district in connection with the alleged attack on Mondal, an official said.

Senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim said he has apprised the Election Commission of the Arambagh episode, and was also 'in touch' with Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain.

In yet another incident of violence, TMC candidate Dr Nirmal Maji said that he was 'heckled' by BJP supporters and his vehicle vandalised when he tried visiting a booth in Uluberia (Uttar) constituency.

Majhi was made to wear a helmet and escorted out of the troubled area by the police.

One of his security guards sustained serious injuries when bricks were hurled at him, a police officer said, adding
that he is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

BJP men forcibly occupying booths, attacking TMC candidates: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday claimed BJP members were forcibly occupying polling booths and attacking TMC members, including party candidates, and asserted that she would not get bogged down by such 'intimidatory tactics'.

Addressing a public meeting here in Alipurduar district, the TMC supremo said her party's nominee in Arambagh, Sujata Mondal, was chased and hit on head near a polling booth by saffron party workers.

"They have inflicted serious injury on our Scheduled Caste candidate Sujata, when she visited a booth. They also hit another candidate in Khanakul. In Canning East, security forces prevented our nominee Shaukat Mollah from entering a booth. There had been numerous such instances of attack on our candidates, party workers across the state," Banerjee said.

The CM further stated that she has received at least 100 complaints of assault and violence since morning, and the EC has been duly informed but to no avail.

Alleging that a deep-rooted conspiracy has been hatched by the BJP leadership in Delhi after experiencing 'poor turnout' in rallies, Banerjee said, "Security forces have been asked not to resist booth capturing."

"Four of our activists have been murdered since the elections began, but no action has been taken. But you (BJP) cannot terrorise us, intimidate us by such acts," Banerjee added.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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