West Bengal sees isolated violence, scuffle in fourth phase of Lok Sabha polling

Former State BJP president’s convoy attacked at two places; 569 companies of CAPF deployed across eight Lok Sabha constituencies, which registered an average turnout of 75.66%

Updated - May 13, 2024 11:45 pm IST

Published - May 13, 2024 10:17 pm IST - Kolkata

Security personnel deployed to maintain lawa and order following incidents of violence during the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Bardhman, on May 13, 2024.

Security personnel deployed to maintain lawa and order following incidents of violence during the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Bardhman, on May 13, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Isolated incidents of violence and scuffle between supporters of political parties marred the fourth phase of polling in West Bengal on May 13. Despite the deployment of about 569 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in this phase, there were attacks on the convoy of a candidate, scuffle among supporters of political parties and allegations of attacks on polling agents.

The average polling percentage across eight Lok Sabha constituencies was 75.66% till 5 p.m. It is likely to increase as the election continued till 6 p.m. Bolpur, a constituency reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates, recorded the highest polling at 77.77%. The lowest turnout of 69.43% was observed at Asansol, primarily an urban constituency. The polling figures for Krishnanagar was 77.29%, Ranaghat 77.29%, Bardhaman Durgapur 75.02%, Birbhum 75.45% and Baharampur 75.36% till 5 p.m.

India general elections 2024 | Highlights on May 13, 2024

BJP candidate and former State party president Dilip Ghosh was at the receiving end of the violence as his convoy was attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters at two places. A staffer engaged in Mr. Ghosh’s security duty sustained head injury. His convoy was first attacked at Monteswar and then at Kalna. Both places fall under the Bardhaman Durgapur Lok Sabha constituency, from where he is contesting.

Mr. Ghosh was seen confronting the Trinamool supporters who were raising slogans against him. The Trinamool supporters tried to block his convoy. When the vehicles were leaving the venue, local residents threw stones at them.

“Police are just mute spectators. The Trinamool has let loose a reign of terror. Since morning, its goons have beaten up our polling agents and are not allowing free and fair polling,” the BJP leader said. Trinamool spokesperson Santanu Sen said Mr. Ghosh was trying to incite locals on the day of polling. There were clashes between BJP supporters and Trinamool cadres at ward number 12 of the Durgapur municipality

Tension prevailed in Chapra and Tehatta areas of the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha constituency as BJP workers were allegedly beaten up by Trinamool workers. BJP candidate Amrita Roy alleged that Trinamool supporters did not allow villagers at Chapra to vote. Two other BJP candidates – Jaganatha Sarkar from Ranagath and Debtanu Bhattacharya from Birbhum – faced protests from Trinamool supporters when they visited polling booths in the constituencies. There was tension in places such as Hasan and Sainthia in Birbhum district.

In Burwan area in the Baharampur Lok Sabha constituency of Murshidabad district, clashes between Trinamool and Congress workers were reported. The Congress candidate from Baharampur, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the situation was brought under control because of the swift action by Central forces. Security personnel at a polling booth in Baharampur had to take away mobile phones of polling agents when they started taking selfies with Trinamool candidate and former cricketer Yusuf Pathan, who visited the booth.

An assistant sub-inspector of the BSF engaged in poll duty in Birbhum fell ill and was declared dead at a State-run hospital.

Key contestants

With Monday’s polling, the political fate of 75 candidates across eight seats have been sealed. Among them are political heavyweights such as State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from Baharampur, Trinamool leaders Mahua Moitra from Krishnanagar, Shatrughan Sinha from Asansol and Yusuf Pathan from Baharampur.

The BJP candidates in the fray in the fourth phase include Mr. Ghosh from Bardhaman Durgapur, S.S. Ahluwalia from Asansol and Jagannath Sarkar from Ranagath. As many as 1.43 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in this phase.

Seven Lok Sabha constituencies — Howrah, Hooghly, Arambagh, Serampore, Bongaon, Barrackpore, and Uluberia — spread across three districts will vote in the fifth phase of election scheduled for May 20.

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