- Stones thrown at the car of CPM candidate Mohammad Salim
- Trinamool-backed people trying to intimidate voters, says Mr Salim
- Voters also blocked NH34, said some people did not allow them to vote
Violence was witnessed in several spots in Bengal, with the car of a candidate being attacked in one instance. Stones were thrown at the car of CPM candidate Mohammad Salim, as he was on way to cast his vote in Patagora of Raigunj constituency.
Mr Salim is up against the Congress's sitting lawmaker Deepa Dasmunsi. Before Deepa Dasmunsi, her husband Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi held the seat since 1999.
"Trinamool-backed miscreants gathered within 100 meters of a polling station in Islampur's Patagara. They were trying to intimidate the voters. When I tried to go to there, they attacked my vehicle," Mr Salim was quoted as saying by news agency IANS. The police, he said, is "not taking any action against the Trinamool goons".
The ruling party, he alleged, has planned to capture booths and rig the votes where the central force personnel are not deployed. "They are stopping the legitimate voters," he alleged.
Violence also took place near a booth in the Girpar in the same constituency, where voters blocked the National Highway 34, claiming that unknown miscreants did not allow them to vote, pushing the police to use batons.
Around 200 km away, in Chopra under Darjeeling seat, another group blocked the highway -- the National Highway 31 -- as well, claiming they were not allowed to vote. The police used batons and tear gas, and finally fired in the air to disperse the mob. The Central forces have now arrived in the area.
Polling is taking place on Bengal's three seats today in the second phase of the elections. Besides Darjeeling and Raiganj, voting is being held also for the Jalpaiguri seat.
The BJP has won the Darjeeling seat twice in a row - in 2009 and 2014 - piggybacking on the local statehood movement.
The demand for Gorkhaland from the locals of hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong has been on since 1980s. The government of Mamata Banerjee and the CPM government before her, has refused to allow the division of Bengal for a third time.
In 2009, the seat was won by BJP stalwart Jaswant Singh, in 2014, the baton was carried by SS Ahluwalia.
This time, the ruling Trinamool Congress, out to wrest the seat, has fielded Amar Singh Rai against the BJP's Raju Singh Bisht.
The Congress, which is contesting most of the state's 42 seats, has fielded Shankar Malakar. The CPM, too, is in the race, with candidate Saman Pathak.
Accusing Mamata Banerjee's government of disrupting polling, BJP lawmaker 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- Chowkidar Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) April 18, 2019
The state has so far witnessed around 16.7 per cent polling.
Accusations of violence came from Purulia too, where a 22-year-old member of the BJP's youth wing, Sisupal Sahis, was found hanging from a tree in Senabana village this morning. While the police have started an investigation, the BJP has claimed he was murdered by the goons of Trinamool Congress.
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