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Bengal: Over 80% voter turnout, violence in second phase

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: April 01, 2021 20:45 IST
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A large voter turnout of more than 80 per cent despite sporadic incidents of violence and allegations of vote fraud on Thursday marked the second phase of West Bengal assembly polls.

IMAGE: Voters show their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting their votes at a polling station during the second phase of West Bengal Assembly Polls, at Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district. Photograph: PTI Photo

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also accused central forces deployed in Nandigram constituency, where she is locked in battle with her former lieutenant, Suvendu Adhikari now with the Bharatiya Janata Party, of helping the saffron party under instructions from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Allegations of booth capturing and partisan behaviour prompted the Election Commission to seek a report on an incident in Boyal village where the feisty Trinamool Congress boss stayed put for more than two hours outside a polling booth following a siege of sorts by BJP supporters.

 

Banerjee slammed the Election Commission for not taking any action despite lodging 63 complaints and threatened to move court over it. Amongst the complaints were allegations of "booth capturing" and "massive fake voting" in Boyal.

The area saw a face-off between TMC and BJP supporters who gave vent at each other with slogans of "Khela Hobe" and "Jai Shri Ram".

IMAGE: Voters arrive to cast their votes at a polling station during the second phase of West Bengal Assembly Polls, at Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district. Photograph: PTI Photo

Stones were hurled and abuses traded, prompting the administration to rush a police contingent to the spot.

Banerjee also rang up the West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to complain about the situation.

Despite the violence and accusations of vote fraud in Nandigram, the TMC supremo said she was confident of victory from the constituency where she had a decade-and-half ago led a farmers' movement against a chemical hub planned by the then Left front government.

"I am not worried about Nandigram, I am confident of victory. (But) I am worried about democracy," Banerjee said as she showed the 'V' for victory sign to a gaggle of press photographers.

The TMC boss claimed she would win a majority of the 60 seats that had gone to polls in the first and second phase.

The TMC leadership also complained of "terror unleashed by the Central forces in favour of the BJP" in the Nandigram constituency, which recorded 80.79 per cent polling till 5 pm.

IMAGE: Voters stand in queues to cast their votes during the second phase of West Bengal Assembly polls, in Nandigram. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was campaigning elsewhere in the state however said "what happened in Nandigram proves that Banerjee has lost the polls."

While her rival Adhikari said, "It has become her habit to insult people of Nandigram. The people of Nandigram will not forget this insult. Mamata Begum (Mamata Banerjee) will be defeated."

Suvendu Adhikari's car too was attacked twice at -- Takapura and Satengabari -- and stones were pelted while he was visiting booths in the assembly constituency.

IMAGE: A man with physical disability undergoes thermal screening as he arrives to cast his vote during the second phase of West Bengal Assembly polls, in Nandigram. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI Photo

His vehicle was gheraoed at various locations as TMC supporters shouted slogans against the BJP leader. Similarly, BJP candidate from Keshpur assembly constituency Tanmay Ghosh's vehicle was also vandalised allegedly by the Trinamool Congress supporters, officials said.

Despite tight security in 30 assembly segments spread across Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts, Bankura and South 24 Parganas, rival TMC and BJP supporters fought pitched battles in several places in the four districts.

IMAGE: Women security personnel stand guard at a polling station during the second phase of West Bengal assembly polls, at Kharagpur in West Midnapur. Photograph: PTI Photo

"Till 5 pm, 80.43 per cent polling has been recorded in the state," EC officials said.

Bankura recorded the highest turnout at 82.92 per cent, followed by Purba Medinipur at 81.23, South 24 Parganas at 79:65 per cent, Paschim Medinipur at 78 per cent.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© 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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