Bengal, Apr 18, 2019 : Violence was reported from several places on Thursday in West Bengal, where polling is being held in three parliamentary constituencies during the second phase of the Lok Sabha election 2019, reported Hindustan Times.
The car of CPI(M) candidate and sitting member of Parliament Md Salim, who is up against the Congress’ Deepa Dasmunsi in Raiganj, was attacked in Islampur.
Salim said police did not do anything when his car was attacked. And his Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused workers of the ruling Trinamool Congress of the attack.
Deepa Dasmunsi represented Raiganj in the Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014 and her husband and former Union minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi was the MP from 1999 to 2009.
In Chopra under Darjeeling constituency, security personnel fired tear gas shells and baton charged agitators, who accused workers of the ruling party in the state of obstructing them from casting their vote. Agitators, who were blocking National Highway 31, also hurled crude bombs at the personnel of the local police and Rapid Action Force, officials said.
Electronic voting machines were also smashed following a clash between the supporters of the Trinamool and the BJP in booth number 112 in Chopra.
The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is facing its toughest challenge against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this election. Lok Sabha seats of Jalpaiguri, Raiganj and Darjeeling – which is in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s kitty – is witnessing a fierce Trinamool-BJP contest as the central party is keen to expand its footprint in West Bengal, the third-largest state in the country in terms of Lok Sabha seats.
Though a part of the Darjeeling constituency, Chopra is in the plains. Darjeeling, which is known for its tea and Unesco World Heritage site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, is voting on Thursday in the second of the seven-phased Lok Sabha election 2019.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has held Darjeeling, one of the 42 Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal, for the last two terms. The BJP had won the Darjeeling seat in 2009 and 2014 with the support of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
Businessman Raju Bista is fighting from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, which comprises the hill towns of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong as well as the plains of Siliguri, has a sizeable Gorkha population.
The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and a faction of GJM, the major local outfits that have carried out movements demanding a separate state Gorkhaland, offered support to Bista.
Amar Singh Rai, who is MLA from GJM from Darjeeling assembly seat, is contesting on a Trinamool ticket. The Congress has fielded Shankar Malakar and the CPI(M)’s candidate is Saman Pathak.
Congress’s Rajya Sabha lawmaker Pradip Bhattacharya alleged that ministers of the state are trying their best to ensure the elections are not peaceful.
“We are getting information about trouble in several areas. We are getting reports from areas such as Chopra and Jalpaiguri. I want to ask why central forces were deployed in areas where they were not needed and kept away from where they were needed,” Bhattacharya said.
The BJP’s leader Babul Supriyo also accused the Mamata Banerjee-led party of violence in Raiganj.
“TMC resorted to violence during polls at Raigunj by threatening and beating up people who went out to vote.Voters had to be escorted to the booths by the armed forces present there. Let’s put an end to #TMChhi’s atrocities and attacks against democracy by stripping them of power (sic),” Babul Supriyo tweeted.
“The the Murderer of Democracy sitting as the CM of Bengal, no matter how much of Central Forces @ECISVEEP (Election Commission) deploys, contaminated Bengal Police will disrupt Free&Fair Polls•Vote shud be conducted after imposing Presidents Rule, throwing out the #TMchhi Govt,” he also wrote on Twitter.
A short while after midday, central special police observer for West Bengal Vivek Dube, described the situation in the eastern state as peaceful.
“(The situation is) more or less peaceful. Small incidents will always happen. But there were no big incidents,” Dube said while speaking to reporters.
“Polling is overall peaceful. Initially, about 150 villagers could not cast their votes in Chopra, but later they could vote with the help of forces. I shall review the situation and take action accordingly,” said Ajay V Nayek, special observer for West Bengal.
The state has so far witnessed around 51.60% polling in the three constituencies.
The votes will be counted on May 23.