Battleground Bengal: Suspicious death, clashes at polling booths mark phase two of Assembly Elections

TMC accuses central security forces of preventing voters from casting their vote in Nandigram, says “outsiders” creating a ruckus

Bengal 2nd phaseOriginal Image: Twitter/@CEOWestBengal

It was phase two of Assembly Elections in Bengal, and it became clear in the morning itself that the day was going to be eventful and possibly violent.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Uday Dubey was found dead in Bhekutia in Nandigram in the morning. Police recovered his body that was found hanging in his home. Tensions broke out shortly afterwards with BJP alleging that Dubey had been receiving threats from rival Trinamool Congress (TMC) member after attending Mithun Chakraborty’s rally on March 30. They allege that Dubey was killed and hung by TMC goons. A case of accidental death was registered and the body was sent for a post-mortem.

Meanwhile, the TMC accused the BJP of attacking Uttam Dolai, in Golar in Bankura:



Later this morning, high drama ensued at a polling booth in Debra constituency where two former police officers are engaged in an electoral battle. BJP’s Bharati Ghosh is pitted against Humayun Kabir of the TMC. Clashes broke out between BJP and TMC party workers after TMC alleged that ‘outsiders’ were brought in by the BJP to disrupt polling and accused the BJP candidate of creating a ruckus. BJP mandal chief from Debra, Mohan Singh was detained by the police. BJP alleges his car was surrounded by TMC workers.

As the parties continued to trade allegations, TMC alleged that CRPF personnel were intimidating and influencing voters in Nandigram. TMC leader Derek O’Brien wrote to the Election Commission alleging booth capturing at several polling booths in Nandigram. India Today quoted his letter to the EC as saying, “Huge mob of BJP workers has entered booth numbers 6, 7, 49, 27, 162, 21, 26, 13, 262, 256, 163 and 20. The BJP workers are attempting to take control of EVM and rigging the booth.”



There were also allegations of voter intimidation in Block – 2 of Nandigram, an are with a significant Muslim population. A TMC leader told Outlook, “Our agents were not allowed to enter several polling booths in Nandigram Block -2. Voters have also been stopped from exercising their franchise in some areas. We will lodge complaints with the EC.”

Mamata Banerjee had set up a war room in Reyapara from where she was monitoring the situation. But she shifted base to the Boyal primary school in Nandigram and sat there in protest after her party workers alleged that local people were not being allowed to cast their vote by personnel of central security forces. She even called governor Jagdeep Dhankar and complained about it. Shortly after receiving the call, Dhankar tweeted, “Issues flagged @MamataOfficial a while ago on phone have been imparted to the concerned. There is full assurance of the concerned to adherence to rule of law. Am confident all will act in right spirit and earnestness so that democracy flourishes.”



Banerjee, who is still on a wheelchair as she is recovering from an injury sustained during campaigning in Nandigram on March 10, camped outside the polling booth. She told mediapersons, “Outsiders are doing hungama here. They have been brought specially for this purpose.” She also said that the party was considering moving court over the EC’s lack of action on their complains. “We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But no action has been taken. We will move court over it. This is unacceptable,” she said. India Today reports that personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Rapid Action Force (RAF) and local police were deployed at the spot and tried to pacify a tense crowd.

In Keshpur, BJP candidate Tanmay Ghosh’s vehicle was attacked with bricks and bamboo sticks allegedly by TMC workers and supporters. Police have arrested three persons in connection with this case. Skirmishes were also reported from Ghatal.


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