Technical glitches, primarily malfunctioning of the EVMs and stray incidents of violence were reported in the seventh and the last phase of polling in West Bengal on Sunday. Voting across nine seats started slowly as EVMs in different parts of Kolkata and adjoining areas were not functioning in the early hours resulting in anger and frustration among voters.
There were reports of violence at Raidighi Assembly seat under Mathurapur Lok Sabha seat and Deganga Assembly segment under Barasat Lok Sabha seat. Crude bombs were hurled at both these places on Saturday night and on Sunday morning, resulting in huge deployment of security forces to contain the situation. In Newtown that falls under Barasat Lok Sabha seat, crude bombs were found in two plastic containers. Personnel from bomb disposal squad were trying to diffuse these bombs.
The vehicle of Nilanjan Ray, BJP’s candidate at Diamond Harbour seat was attacked at Budge Budge. Mr Roy alleged that TMC supporters were behind the attack. Fuad Halim the CPI(M) candidate from Diamond Harbour said at four polling booths in the constituency there were reports of polling agents being driven out of the booths. Diamond Harbour is a prestigious seat where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is contesting on TMC tickets.
In the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat, BJP‘s candidate Anupam Hazra faced protests outside a polling booth. Mr Hazra alleged that there was proxy voting and when he protested a group of women surrounded him. BJP candidate from Basirhat Sayantan Basu also alleged malpractices. Mr Basu said that locals had blocked Basanti Highway demanding adequate protection so that they can cast their vote. In certain polling booths, there were allegations of people entering the voting compartment and trying to influence voters. At Baruipur, which falls under Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat a booth president of Trinamool Congress was seen influencing voters in the video footage aired by television channels.
In Kolkata North CPI(M) candidate Koninika Ghosh sat on the road in Belgachia protesting that polling agent of her party was driven out. Ms Ghosh alleged that three agents of her party were beaten up and driven outside polling booths. There was reports of a crude bombs explosion at Rabindra Sarani in North Kolkata. BJP candidate from Kolkata North Rahul Sinha said that the explosion was an attempt to divert attention of media and security forces.
The nine seats where polling is held during the day are Kolkata North and Kolkata South in the metropolis, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat in North 24 Parganas and Jadavpur, Diamond Harbour, Jaynagar (SC) and Mathurapur (SC) in South 24 Parganas respectively. The Election Commission has deployed 710 companies of central armed police forces for the last phase of elections in the State. These forces will provide 100% static postings at all the 17,058 polling booths where polling is held during the day.