Phase I voting for General Elections 2024: Marred by Firing, “booth capturing,” crude bomb “found” in BJP leaders house, complaints of undue pressure

Concerning reports from Manipur, Tripura, and West Bengal emerged on first polling day, April 19, raising further doubts on the conduct of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and its ability to ensure free and fair elections
Image: PTI

On April 19, the first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha Polls got underway with voting in 102 seats of the total 543 taking place across 21 Indian states. The ECI data on voter turnout across various states by 3 pm is varied with the eastern Indian states of Tripura leading with 68.35%, followed by West Bengal and Manipur with high percentages at 66.43 and 62.58 respectively. The state of Assam also witnessed a substantial turnout at 60.70%, while Bihar recorded the lowest at 39.73%. Voter turnout at Maharashtra was at only 44.12% until 3 p.m. today.

Disturbing videos of “booth capturing”, followed by “rigging,” intimidation and malpractices also marred the first polling day. Even news of some violence and gun firing were reported. Until the time of filing of this report the ECI’s social media handle had not responded to any concerns nor has any statement been issued.



Polling is being held for Manipur’s Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency and 15 assembly segments of the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency The remaining 13 assembly segments of the Outer Manipur (in the hills) constituency will vote on April 26.

Incidents of firing by unidentified groups, strong contestations from ordinary voters including women, and even destruction of EVMs and scattering of ballot papers were shared and seen from several some stations in Manipur during the first day of polling in the state. Videos showing armed men running near the booth while the police stood silently also went viral on social media. In the said video, women could be seen pleasing to the police officers as chaos ensued.

Additionally, vandalism inside a polling station has also been reported under the Thongju Assembly seat of Imphal East district. As per a report of India Today NE, polling in the state had to be halted at 5 Thongju and 31 Khongman Zone in Imphal as a result of the uproar caused by several women, who alleged that malpractices and booth capturing was taking place at polling booths. As reported by Imphal East DC, the polling officer then decided to shut the polling booth in view of the accusations being levelled.

There are also unconfirmed reports from the state of people getting injured in these incidents. As per a report of the Times of India, armed men reportedly fired several rounds of gun shots at a polling station in Thamanpokpi, located within the Moirang assembly segment.

Another video showing an Indian National Congress candidate confronting the police and questioning them regarding the commotion that took place outside the polling booth also emerged on social media.

In another bit of news, a state of commotion erupted at the Eroisemba polling booth after Arambai Tenggol allegedly threatened that there could be no Congress agent at the polling booth.

According to the reports of Hindustan Times and The Impress Press, in Uripok and Iroishemba in Imphal West district, armed individuals forced party agents to vacate the premises and threatened the voters to vote for one party. Incensed with the intimidation, the voters at some polling stations damaged the EVMs and other election-related materials.

West Bengal:

Reports of violence also emerged from West Bengal as Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri seats went to polls in Phase 1 of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. Early morning Friday, India Today television reported bombs being found in the home of a BJP leader in the state’s Cooch Behar district leading to allegations and counter allegations.

Thereafter, reports came in from the Indian Express, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) have accused each other of hurting their poll agents and workers and disrupting the electoral process in the state.

As per other media reports, BJP accused TMC supporters of stone pelting in Chandamari, which allegedly resulted in a BJP booth president suffering an injury. Furthermore, BJP workers also claimed they were attacked in Natabari and injured cadre were admitted to Tufhangunj hospital in Cooch Behar. On the other hand, BJP workers were accused of attacking TMC workers in the Sitalkuchi and Chotosalbari Gram Panchayat areas. Shockingly, during the first hour of voting, crude bombs were also allegedly recovered from the residence of a BJP booth president in Dinhata -II and a TMC polling camp in Sitai was attacked, as per the IE report.

The ruling TMC has also accused the BJP of orchestrating violence in the state, with the party alleging that Union minister and BJP leader Nisith Pramanik was using his position to store arms in his office. As per a report of the Financial Times, the Mamata-led party has also written a letter to the Election Commission in this regard. Taking to ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), TMC alleged that AITC Block President, Bhetaguri, Anant Barman was assaulted by BJP workers and is currently undergoing treatment in hospital. They also said BJP leaders Ratan Burman, Ajeet Mahanto and Hiren Mahanto hurled crude bombs and attacked AITC booth agents, triggering violence.


The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has filed a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer of Agartala, Tripura over electoral malpractices being employed at West Parliamentary constituency of Tripura. As per the complaint, the aforementioned constituency including the 7-Ramnagar Assembly Constituency in Sadar, saw large scale manipulation. The party alleged that polling agents of INDIA bloc were either driven out or not allowed to enter in many of the polling booths. Furthermore, in Ramnagar Assembly constituency, voters, who were mostly Muslims or opposition supports, were threatened a day before the polls to not approach the polling booths to cast their votes. In addition to this, CPI(M) also raised allegation of book capturing in many areas.

The full complaint can be viewed here:




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