Lok Sabha elections 2019: The BJP also claimed EVM malfunction from various parts of the state, including in Jadavpur, the heart of Kolkata
KOLKATA: Crude bombs were flung in Bengal’s Bhatpara as two groups clashed and elsewhere, three BJP candidates claimed they came under attack on the last day of polling in the state. Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for the presence of Central forces in the state till the counting of votes gets over. Two of the claims came from state capital Kolkata, which is voting today along with the remaining eight seats in the state that sends the second highest number of members to the Lok Sabha after Uttar Pradesh.
Bengal is voting in all seven rounds of the Lok Sabha elections and violence was reported in every round. The BJP also claimed EVM malfunction from various parts of the state, including in Jadavpur, the heart of Kolkata.
In Bhatpara, where Trinamool’s former minister Madan Mitra is contesting against the BJP’s Pawan Kumar Singh, the son of former Trinamul lawmaker Arjun Singh in by-polls for the state assembly, crude bombs were hurled by rival groups. The clash came under control only after the police used batons. The Election Commission has asked for a report.
“We fear the TMC will carry out a concerted and synchronised round of violence post-election and that’s why Central forces must remain there. The TMC has been persistent with their ideology of violence. Asked about the BJP workers’ involvement in violence, she said, “I think this is a weak argument. Everyone knows who is indulging in violence”.
Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien said the BJP was “as usual, hiding facts and lying to the country”.
“Today in Bengal, Central forces are brutally torturing and intimidating common citizens, especially the marginalised. Even physically handicapped persons being tortured. Central forces are also threatening voters “Kamal dabao nahin toh thok dega”,” Derek O’Brien said.
Rahul Sinha, BJP candidate for the North Kolkata seat, said he was attacked by a group of men.
Anupam Hazra, expelled Trinamool leader who joined the BJP and is contesting from Jadavpur, said stones were thrown at his car. Similar complaints came from Nilanjan Roy, who is the BJP contender from the Diamond Harbour seat, where Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is the sitting lawmaker.
In Jadavpur, the BJP claimed voters were being inked but not allowed to vote. A heated argument took place between two groups.
In North Kolkata, when BJP candidate Anupam Hazra walked into a poll booth with a huge security and media contingent and jammed the area, the voters got agitated and one person suffered a stroke. The people started abusing him and the Trinamool workers asked him to leave.
BJP candidate Rahul Sinha was held at a school in Park Circus as people shouted “Go Back” slogans. In the jostling, a cameraperson was hurt.
Trinamool’s Moon Moon Sen, who is taking on Union Minister Babul Supriyo from the Asansol seat, said whatever is happening in Bengal is a “tiny bit of violence”.
“Things have been polarised for the last six years and it wasn’t the Bengalis. There may have been a bit of violence here and there like there are in other states… no one talks about the violence in the last five years in Uttar Pradesh. This is a tiny bit of violence. No Bengali would break the statue of Vidyasagar… not if he is drunk or mad, unless he has changed parties from TMC to BJP,” she said.