- Ex-IPS officer is the BJP candidate in Bengal's Ghatal
- She was allegedly pushed to the ground when she tried to enter poll booth
- West Bengal has seen violence, clashes in the previous rounds of voting
BJP candidate Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer and once a trusted lieutenant of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was in tears Sunday morning after she was attacked, heckled and pushed to the ground at a polling station as the state votes in the sixth round of the national election. Ms Ghosh is the BJP candidate in Bengal's Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency.
The village of Keshpur in Ghatal, 145 km from Kolkata, turned into a battlefield on Sunday with supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress heckling, surrounding and finally giving chase to the BJP candidate who took shelter in a temple.
"Keshpur has become Kashmir today. The police compelled me to get out of my car in front of an angry mob. The administration wanted to have me killed. There is massive rigging in Midnapore," Bharati Ghosh said.
Trouble started early in the day but peaked around noon when the Keshpur Bazar area turned into the site of violence with Trinamool supporters, in their hundreds, throwing stones at Bharati Ghosh's car, at the police, at the media and causing a total lockdown in the area.
Bharati Ghosh, who is taking on actor Deepak (Dev) Adhikari of the Trinamool Congress, took shelter in a temple against the brick batting but when that too became vulnerable, she jumped a boundary wall and entered the police station in Keshpur. Her car was stopped again in the afternoon and country-made bombs were thrown at her convoy.
In the morning, women supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress allegedly surrounded and heckled her when she tried to enter a voting centre in Keshpur with her polling agent. Ms Ghosh had minor injuries in the attack.
The Election Commission has sought a report after Ms Ghosh allegedly entered the booth with her mobile phone and an armed guard and took a video. The election body has asked the District Magistrate of Midnapore to file a First Information Report or FIR against her.
According to locals, people are furious with Bharti Ghosh after she warned Trinamool supporters in her constituency that she would drag them from their homes and thrash them like dogs if they tried to prevent BJP voters from casting their vote.
Late on Thursday night, Rs. 1.13 lakh was seized from Bharati Ghosh's car. There was late-night drama after her car was stopped for checking in Pingla, 114 km from Kolkata. On Sunday, Bengal BJP leader Mukul Roy's car too was searched.
West Bengal has seen violence and clashes on polling days in the previous rounds of voting with workers of the Trinamool Congress and the BJP clashing in many parts of the state.
"This is nothing but a ploy to disturb the peaceful polling process. When the BJP is losing its ground in West Bengal it is trying to create an atmosphere of violence. Both the candidates of BJP, Bharati Ghosh and Dilip Ghosh, are trying to disrupt peace on the polling day. They have nothing to do. Both know that people have rejected them," West Bengal Minister Firhad Hakim told news agency PTI.
Two BJP workers were injured in East Midnapore last night after they were shot at. A Trinamool Congress worker was found dead in the same district. In Jhargram district, a BJP worker was found dead. The party alleges that he was killed by Trinamool workers.
Security was heightened at polling stations in Bengal for the sixth phase after multiple cases of violence in the previous rounds.
Eight parliamentary constituencies in Bengal - Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram , Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur - are voting in the penultimate round of the Lok Sabha polls.
The votes will be counted on May 23.
(With inputs from PTI)