Tensions in Murshidabad mar polling in West Bengal

Polling was largely peaceful but for instances of skirmishes when the Congress-supported Left Front candidate Mohammad Salim came face-to-face with the TMC’s supporters in Murshidabad

Updated - May 08, 2024 02:06 am IST

Published - May 07, 2024 10:58 pm IST - Kolkata

Trinamool and BJP leaders clash outside a polling station in West Bengal’s Murshidabad on May 7, 2024.

Trinamool and BJP leaders clash outside a polling station in West Bengal’s Murshidabad on May 7, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Four seats in West Bengal that went to the polls in the third phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections recorded about 73.33% polling till 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The figures are expected to rise since polling is likely to continue till 6 p.m. on the seats in Malda Uttar, Malda Dakshin, Jangipur, and Murshidabad.

The Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat recorded 76.49% polling till 5 p.m., whereas at Jangipur the polling was about 72.13%. In Malda district, the Malda Uttar Lok Sabha constituency recorded 73.30% polling while the Malda Dakshin Lok Sabha constituency recorded 73.68% polling till 5 p.m.

Along with the Lok Sabha election, byelection to the Bhagwangola Assembly segment was also held, where 73.93% polling was registered.

Lok Sabha polls 2024: Follow LIVE updates from the polling on May 07, 2024

The polling was largely peaceful but there were instances where the Congress-supported Left Front candidate Mohammad Salim, contesting from the Murshidabad Lok Sabha seat, came face-to-face with Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters at various places in Murshidabad, which led to tension and skirmishes.

TMC supporters raised slogans of “go back” at Raninagar against Mr. Salim, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State secretary, who also got embroiled in a scuffle with the TMC’s supporters. Mr. Salim alleged that voters were intimidated by TMC supporters and “fake polling agents” were made to sit inside polling booths.  

Mr. Salim is contesting against TMC candidate and sitting MP Abu Taher Khan. Data shared by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal pointed out that the maximum number of complaints were received from Murshidabad.

Like Murshidabad, three other constituencies that went to the polls are also facing a triangular contest between the TMC, the BJP, and Left and Congress candidates.

The BJP candidate from Malda Dakshin, Sreerupa Mitra Chowdhury, was seen accusing police personnel at a polling booth of causing hindrance to peaceful polling.

A total of 57 candidates are in the fray in the four constituencies where voting started at 7 a.m. and continued till 6 p.m. The region, which is ridden with multiple issues, including Ganga river erosion and migration of people for livelihood, has been hectic electioneering with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee campaigning in support of their respective party candidates.

About 334 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) were deployed in the four constituencies that went to the polls on Tuesday. Altogether 73,37,651 voters, including 36,12,395 women and 154 voters belonging to the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise.

With the conclusion of the third phase, elections have concluded in 10 of the 42 seats in West Bengal. Elections to eight constituencies of West Bengal will be held in the fourth phase that will go to the polls on May 13.

There are 21 candidates in the fray in the fourth phase. The constituencies going to polls on May 13 are spread across several districts in south Bengal. The constituencies going to the polls in the next phase are Baharampur, Bardhaman Purba, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Birbhum, Bolpur, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, and Asansol.

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