Lok Sabha election: Clashes mar voting in West Bengal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha election: Clashes mar voting in West Bengal

Apr 19, 2024 11:08 AM IST

Anant Barman, a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) functionary, was hospitalised after he was allegedly injured in a crude bomb attack at Bhetaguri

Reports of clashes between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started pouring in as soon as voting for three of West Bengal’s 42 seats began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls at 7am on Friday. At least one person was injured in a clash between workers and supporters of the two arch-rivals at Chandmari near Cooch Behar town. Stone-throwing was also reported.

People outside a polling booth in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar. (AFP)
People outside a polling booth in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar. (AFP)

Anant Barman, a local TMC functionary, was hospitalised after he was allegedly injured in a crude bomb attack at Bhetaguri. State minister Udayan Guha rushed to see Barman in hospital. Follow full coverage of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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In 2019, the BJP won all three seats–Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri–where polling was being held in the first phase. Until 9 am, 15.2% voting was recorded in Cooch Behar, 15.91% in Alipurduar, and 14.13% in Jalpaiguri.

TMC and BJP accused each other of intimidating voters, preventing them from reaching polling booths and assaulting booth agents. In areas such as Toofanganj in Cooch Behar and Dabgram-Fulbari in Jalpaiguri, temporary election offices were allegedly set afire.

Also Read | Number Theory: What is at stake in today's voting?

An official in West Bengal governor’s office said most calls related to poll violence and voter intimidation were being received from Cooch Behar.

Five people, including a first-time voter, were killed in April 2021 during assembly elections in Cooch Behar. Clashes have also been reported there between supporters of Union minister Nisith Pramanik and state minister Udayan Guha.

The BJP has set up a helpline at its Kolkata office for complaints of poll violence. TMC functionaries said the party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was monitoring the voting from Kolkata.

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