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Bengal records around 78 pc polling till 5 PM; Stray violence reported

Bengal records around 78 pc polling till 5 PM; Stray violence reported

Kolkata, May 25 (UNI) Amid reports of stray violence, an estimated 77.99 per cent of over 1.45 crore electorate exercised their franchise till 5 PM in the penultimate sixth phase election to eight Lok Sabha seats of Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura and Bishnupur in Bengal on Saturday.
While Tamluk accounted for 79.79 per cent, Kanthi for 75.66 per cent, Ghatal for 78.92 per cent, Jhargram (SC) for 79.68 per cent, Medinipur for 77.57 per cent, Purulia for 74.09 per cent, Bankura for 66.79 per cent and Bishnupur for 81.47 per cent, according to the ECI data.
Altogether 1985 complaints have been received by the ECI.
Meanwhile, TMC supporters prevented BJP Ghatal candidate Hiran Chatterjee from going to a booth at Keshpur as they lied down on the road stopping his car from moving as the central forces cordoned off the BJP candidate. His convoy was gheraoed by the TMC supporters demanding 100 days' job dues.
CAPF top officials along with forces reached there with assistance from the state police. The TMC supporters said they would not allow him to go to polling booth.
Hiran's convoy had to retreat after a section of agitators set fire a bunch of hay to put up barricade on the road.
Hiran alleged Keshpur has become another Pakistan.
There was no state police, he alleged and said the state police was aiding the ruling party in the chaotic situation as no policeman was seen to lift the blockade on the road.
Hiran Chatterjee was involved in heated argument with state police where TMC supporters alleged that the BJP candidate was fomenting trouble. Hiran alleged that the TMC supporters were preventing the voters from going to the polling booths.
Jhargram BJP candidate Pranat Tudu was attacked with bricks in which his security official received head injury at booth no 200 at Garbeta where a private tv channel's car was also vandalized.
BJP spokesman Samiksha Bhattacharya in a media conference demanded removal of state election chief Aariz Aftab.
He alleged he has tacit understanding with Mamata Banerjee.
He alleged why the BJP candidates were prevented from going to the booths for checking.
Bhattacharya alleged the TMC supporters were seen protesting and preventing BJP candidates even from going within 100 mts of polling booths.
"Either he mends himself or quit the post if fails to upheld his constitutional obligation to ensure fair polling," said Bhattacharya.
TMC alleged that the BJP supporters had attacked the TMC supporters.
Taking to X, TMC said, " The Chief Minister has repeatedly flagged how BJP was trying to rig votes by tampering with EVMs. And today, in Bankura's Raghunathpur, 5 EVMs were found with BJP tags on them. ECISVEEP should immediately look into it and take corrective action. "
In another post, TMC said on X, "An outright ELECTORAL FRAUD! This is the @SuvenduWB model of conducting elections – rigging votes in Nandigram when they can't win people's mandate! Where are the Central Forces now and @ECISVEEP now?"
State Minister Shashi Panja said, "BJP's Nari-Biddeshi achoron is no longer confined to words; it's now evident in their actions. From Central Forces outraging the modesty of women to BJP MP candidate, Pranat Tudu's security physically assaulting a woman waiting to cast her ballot, their onslaught on Bengal's mothers and sisters grows more brazen by the hour. When the PM himself sets the tone with his misogynistic behaviour, what more can we expect from his underlings?"
A report said the TMC supporters allegedly raised slogans against Tamluk BJP candidate Abhijit Ganguly at Haldia.
Reinforcement of state police and Quick Response Team intervened after TMC supporters held BJP Tamluk candidate Abhinit Ganguly for over half an hour near a polling booth at Bhawanipur in Haldia where Ganguly alleged of false voting.
Ganguly's convoy was escorted safely.
Ahead of sixth phase polling former TMC Panchayat leader Moibul was hacked to death at Mahishadal under Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency in Purba Medinipur district.
He was killed at 11 PM on Friday when the miscreants stopped his bike and attacked him with sharp weapons.
Five people have been arrested in this connection.
The ECI has sought action taken report in the murder of TMC leader at Mahishadal.
TMC alleged that the BJP was involved in the murder, which was, however, denied by the BJP.
In Medinipur police prevented BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul from going into a polling Centre. She also alleged the police at the behest of TMC supporters were acting.
Paul also alleged the central forces were also not acting properly despite several appeals.
TMC candidate from Ghatal Dev said let the voters cast vote according to their choice. He expressed satisfaction over brisk polling after visiting a polling booth.
BJP supporter Babulal Mondal was beaten up and hospitalised at Haldia where Tamluk LS candidate Abhijit Ganguly visited.
Saturday's phase holds huge significance, not only for the state but also for the nation, as it plays a crucial role in shaping then political trajectory of one of India's most populous states.
The saffron brigade, however, mathematically has edge over ruling Trinamool Congress as the main opposition of the state had five seats and the ruling has three in 2019 Parliament poll.
Official sources said some 1,45,34,228 voters, of them 71,70,822 women, have been enrolled to cast their votes in about 15,600 polling stations to elect eight winners among the 79 aspirants, majority of them are Independent candidates under the constant vigil of nearly 1,000 companies of Central Armed Forces.
The TMC and BJP are contesting in all seats, while Left- Congress combine also in the eight segments, the CPI(M) in five, Forward Bloc in one and Congress in two.
The contest once again is between Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and Narendra Modi's Parivar candidates, sources added.
Tamluk, Kanthi, Ghatal, Jhargram, Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Bishnupur constituencies serve as battlegrounds where candidates from different political parties vie for victory, aiming to secure their foothold in the state's political landscape as 2026 is state assembly poll.
In Tamluk, Purba Medinipur the fight is between new horns TMC's Debanhshu Bhattacharyya and Justice (Retd)Abhijit Gangopadhyay (BJP), and Sayan Banerjee of the CPI(M).
In Kanthi, also in Purba Medinipur, TMC's Uttam Barik, Soumendu Adhikari from BJP, also the youngest brother of Suvendu Adhikari, and Urbashi Bhattacharya from the Congress would vie. The seat was held by Adhikari's father Sisir Adhikari, who won on TMC ticket in 2019 but the whole family's allegiance switched over to the saffron brigade after the eldest joined the BJP in 2020.
The Ghatal, also in Medinipur, where Tollywood super star Dev alias sitting MP Dipak Adhikari seeks his reelection against his professional friend in the studios Hiranmay Chattopadhyay from the BJP. Papiya Chakraborty from the grand old party is also vying for victory.
Once Maoist-dominated Jhargram is where TMC's Kalipada Soren, medic Pranat Tudu from the BJP, and Sonamoni Murmu (Tudu) of the CPI(M) are in contention. The seat was held by the BJP's Kumar Hembram in 2019 but suddenly he quit politics right now.
The Medinipur seat will witness actor June Malia of TMC against Agnimitra Paul of BJP, a fashion designer-turned full time politician for the past five years. CPI's Biplab Bhatta is also contesting the seat.
Purulia, also a former bastion of Maoists, where TMC's Shantiram Mahato is facing BJP's sitting MP Jyotirmay Singh Mahato. Congress veteran Nepal Mahato is also in the fray.
In neighbouring Bankura, which has also acute water problems, TMC's Arup Chakraborty is in the run against sitting MP and Union Minister Dr. Subhash Sarkar. Nilanjan Dasgupta from the CPI(M) is also one of the contenders.
Bishnupur, also in Bankura, witnesses a keen contest where Sujata Khan (Mondal) faces her estranged husband and sitting MP Soumitra Khan from the BJP Shital Kaibartya from the CPI(M) is also in the hustings.

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