Asansol/Kolkata: As polling goes on in 72 constituencies across the country for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019, central forces can be hardly traced in the politically violent State of West Bengal. In Asansol, violent skirmishes between Trinamool and BJP supporters erupted, after which the police had to take recourse to lathi charge. Outside a polling booth, the car of MP and BJP leader Babul Supriyo was ransacked.
Car of Babul Supriyo ransacked in Asansol
Voting started in the morning in eight constituencies of West Bengal. Once again, as in the third phase of polling, violence marred the voting process.
The most violent has been Asansol Lok Sabha’s Pandabeshwar Assembly area. The BJP workers are still shouting slogans here, protesting against alleged hooliganism by the ruling Trinamool’s workers. The police lathi-charged the group earlier in the morning.
#WATCH Clash between TMC workers and security personnel at polling booth number 199 in Asansol. A TMC polling agent said, 'no BJP polling agent was present at the booth.' BJP MP candidate from Asansol, Babul Supriyo's car was also vandalised outside the polling station. pic.twitter.com/goOmFRG96L
— ANI (@ANI) April 29, 2019
Babul Suprio appeared before the media to press his case. He said he would himself take the central forces’ jawans to the affected booths after his car was attacked allegedly by Trinamool goons. He said, “(Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee is scared. That is why she is trying to influence the election through violence.”
West Bengal: BJP MP candidate from Asansol, Babul Supriyo's car vandalised in Asansol. A TMC polling agent says, there is no BJP polling agent here. pic.twitter.com/kBNmpXCvPD
— ANI (@ANI) April 29, 2019
In Asansol, Union minister Babul Supriyo of the BJP faces yesteryears’ film actress Moon Moon Sen who is the Trinamool candidate. The other candidates for this seat are at best ‘also ran’.
Babul Supriyo has been a vocal critic of the Bengal government for the past five years.
No central force
There are several booths in Asansol where the media found no central force deployed. These include booth numbers 103, 104, 106 and 107.
The paramilitary forces were deployed here earlier, but only until the night when policewomen were put on duty here.
In Asansol, the BJP workers demanded the deployment of central forces and, until then, urged the citizens to stop voting. This followed some Trinamool supporters arriving at the polling stations and launching an attack on their political rivals. The police resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the two sides.
The situation in Asansol is continuously worsening. While there are reports of fierce clashes between BJP-TMC supporters, media crews were attacked by Trinamool supporters. Even women journalists were not spared, reported Republic TV.
When Aaj Tak correspondent Manogya Loiwal was reporting from Asansol the violence that erupted there, supporters of the Trinamool attacked him and abused him.
Election or joke? Miscreants run away with EVMs
Meanwhile, reports of disturbances in EVMs are coming from some areas.
A bomb exploded in front of a voter’s house in Shantipur, which the Trinamool goons had identified as an influential BJP supporter of the area. The bomb exploded near Radharani Bidyamandir.
Congress workers in Berhampur caught an outsider trying to vote in a booth of the area. the party alleges he is a TMC supporter.
Earlier, some miscreants in Birbhum ran away with EVM units. No central paramilitary force was deployed at the time at these polling booths, which frustrated the BJP cadre and left them fuming and complaining.
BJP cadre and Trinamool workers confronted one another with violence in Birbhum’s Nannoor. The villagers have alleged that the people of TMC are threatening them, after which women have also come on the streets. The police have cordoned the area off.
People complained of malfunctioning EVM units at several polling booths in Birbhum in Bengal. There are some booths where polling did not begin until 8:30 AM. There is palpable fury in the voters.
BJP to move Election Commission
The BJP will now complain to the Election Commission about the collapse of law-and-order and free and fair elections in Bengal.
The BJP alleged that Congress president Rahul Gandhi is constantly using hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This matter will be reported to the EC too.
Bengal is witnessing a bipolar fight between the BJP and the Trinamool, thanks to the decimation of the CPI(M)-led Left Front and the irrelevance of the Congress except in two districts of the State: Malda and Murshidabad.
What is worse for the Trinamool, many of its workers stand disillusioned, not so much for the minority appeasement ideology that the BJP complains about but more for some disgruntlement arising out of ‘uneven’ distribution of ill-gotten wealth by the second, third and fourth-run leaders of the ruling party. The Trinamool fears these workers will vote for the BJP.
The violence was worse during the panchayat elections where candidates of the opposition — BJP, CPI(M) and Congress — were stopped from filing their nomination papers. The Calcutta High Court had intervened, but the situation did not improve on the ground.
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