Kolkata: At least 10 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the violence that occurred in two of the 30 constituencies in West Bengal, state Chief Electoral officer Aariz Aftab said.
West Bengal election’s phase 1 polling on Saturday turned out to be quite eventful as reports of violence, allegations and counter-allegations garnered a lot of attention.
In Paschim Medinipur district, 7 people were arrested from the Salboni seat where CPI(M) candidate Susanta Ghosh was heckled and stones were hurled at his car allegedly by the ruling TMC supporters.
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s younger brother Soumendu was also attacked and his car was vandalised at Kanthi in Purba Medinipur district and three persons were arrested over the incident.
“Other than some sporadic incidents of violence, polling was held in a peaceful manner in 30 assembly constituencies in West Bengal,” Aftab told reporters.
Another major allegation of EVM malfunctioning also gained prominence and a group of people blocked a road outside a polling station at Majna in the Kanthi Dakshin seat, claiming that the VVPAT slip showed results in favour of BJP, no matter which one they voted for.
The CEO said that the Commission would look into the allegations of some political parties that personnel of the central forces “were influencing voters to cast their votes for the BJP”.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are currently attacking each other using audio-tapes as their tool. BJP claims that CM Mamata Banerjee dialled saffron party leader Pralay Pal and sought his assistance to win the Nandigram seat where she is pitted against her former protégé Suvendu Adhikari.
Pal in a video released by the BJP claimed that the Chief Minister had dialled him up and urged him to “work for her and return to the TMC”.
The TMC has rubbished the same and contended that the voice in the recording is not verified.
Meanwhile, TMC also put out a counter audio-tape of a conversation between two BJP leaders. The ruling party in West Bengal has alleged that BJP’s Mukul Roy can be heard briefing party leader Shishir Bajoria on ways to influence the Election Commission in the purported audio clip.
The TMC alleged that in the audio clip, Roy tells Bajoria they must approach the poll body asking for changes in rules so that people other than locals are allowed to be booth agents or else BJP won’t be able to give agents in a large section of booths.
On Saturday, Trinamool Congress members had also met meet the Chief Electoral Officer raising issues over the deployment of booth agents. After the meeting, Sudip Bandyopadhyay told media persons: “BJP had submitted a memorandum requesting to change the system of appointing booth agents wherein he must be a voter of the concerned booth and allow anybody at any booth”
“The new system is not acceptable to us. We demand that from the next phase the polling agent must be local of the concerned polling booth. CEO has assured us to look into the matter,” he added.
If any new elements in this faceoff over audiotapes surface remain to be seen.
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