Stray clashes and allegations of malpractices levelled by Opposition marred elections to 12 municipalities in nine West Bengal districts on Saturday.
Clashes were reported from Burdwan, Guskara, Chakda and Panihati with armed miscreants firing and trying to snatch electronic voting machines (EVMs) from a polling booth at Habra.
The miscreants fired and tried to snatch EVMs from the Akrampur Nivedita primary school polling station at Habra, Additional Superintendent of Police (HQ) North 24 Parganas Joy Biswas said.
The miscreants fled after the police fired back, he said.
Four TMC supporters were injured in a clash with CPI(M) workers at Banipur in Habra municipality in North 24 Parganas district, police sources said.
Polling was stopped at booth 155, ward 19 at Sarada Pally in Panihati Municipality in the same district following allegations by CPI(M) that TMC captured booths.
TMC General Secretary Mukul Roy claimed that polling was free, fair and peaceful and that there was no truth in allegations by the CPI(M) which said that it was withdrawing from the fray at Burdwan and Chakda.
“It sounds peculiar that a contesting party wants to withdraw when polling is almost over. Withdrawal of candidates is permissible from nomination filing to scrutiny and finally withdrawal as per prescribed rules,” Mr. Roy said.
Dubbing it as the CPI(M)’s “defeatist mentality”, Mr. Roy said “This is nothing, but Marxist drama.”
CPI(M) politburo member Nirupam Sen, however, told PTI that free and fair polls were not possible in Burdwan district where party candidates and agents being beaten up allegedly by TMC supporters.
Opposition leader Suryakanta Mishra alleged that violence, perpetrated by TMC worker, forced the party to boycott the polls in Burdwan district.
State Election Commissioner Mira Pande visited two booths in ward 4 and four booths in ward 19 in Panihati Municipality in North 24 Parganas district.
Ms. Mira faced a demonstration near Panihati while she was supervising polls, police said.