West Bengal

West Bengal elections | Voting begins in first phase amid allegations of malpractices

Women wait in line to cast their votes, amid tight security, outside a polling booth during the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly election in Purulia district, March 27, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Voting in the first phase of polls for 30 seats in West Bengal began on March 27 amid allegations of violence and electoral malpractices.

Till 11 a.m., about 34.86% votes were cast on an average in the seats spread across five districts of the State.

Polling in Keshairy in Paschim Medinipur district is under way.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate from Salboni Sushanta Ghosh was heckled when he visited a polling booth in the constituency. The former Minister was allegedly pushed by Trinamool Congress supporters and his vehicle was attacked.

Locals ran after the vehicle of the CPI(M) leader and hurled shoes. They also attacked vehicles of media personnel present at the spot. The car of BJP leader Soumendu Adhikari, the brother of Suvendu Adhikari, was also attacked in Kanthi.

In Kanthi’s Majra area, Trinamool supporters alleged that even after pressing the EVM buttons in favour of TMC candidates, the VVPAT slips showed votes for the BJP. The locals stopped voting and blocked roads by burning tyres. Voting was resumed after three hours.

“Shocking claim by voters which must be immediately looked into by @ECISVEEPand @CEOWestBengal. Many voters in Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat allege that they voted for TMC but VVPAT showed them the BJP symbol. THIS IS SERIOUS! THIS IS UNPARDONABLE!,” the Trinamool Congress tweeted from its official handle.

Earlier in the day, there was tension in the Keshriary Assembly seat after a body of a BJP worker was found. The body of Mangal Soren was found in the courtyard of his house in Begumpur area.

While the body had injuries, the preliminary reports with the office of Chief Electoral Office, West Bengal said that the death was not linked to political violence.

In Bhagwanpur constituency, locals alleged that BJP supporters had threatened them against voting. The villages said that BJP supporters also beat them up. A Trinamool delegation comprising several MPs visited the office of the State Chief Electoral Officer and alleged that electoral malpractices were carried out at the behest of the BJP.

The allegations of violence and electoral malpractices came despite unprecedented security arrangements. The ECI has deployed 732 companies of Central forces for the 30 Assembly seats going to the polls on the day. About 73 lakh voters will decide the fate of 191 candidates in the fray in the first phase.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 8:12:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/west-bengal-elections-voting-begins-in-first-phase-amid-allegations-of-malpractices/article34176051.ece

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