3 dead as violence mars third-phase voting

3 dead as violence mars third-phase voting

62 Assembly seats of West Bengal witness an estimated 79% turnout

3 dead as violence mars third-phase voting

Three people were reported dead and several others injured during the third phase of the six-phase Assembly elections in West Bengal on Thursday. 

The poll percentage till the end of day’s polling at 6 pm stood at slightly over 79.
Despite a security blanket of 1 lakh security personnel, including 75,000 central forces, incidents of violence were reported from different areas, including Domkal in Murshidabad, where one person died. At Ketugram in Burdwan, the police arrested four CPM cadre for slashing a Trinamool Congress worker’s ear, while three received serious injuries from a crude bomb explosion. At Chakdaha and Gayeshpur in Nadia, clashes between the Trinamool and CPM were reported.

The day witnessed polling at seven seats in Kolkata, along with 22 constituencies in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia, and 16 in Burdwan. Around 1.37 crore voters exercised their right to decide the fate of 418 candidates across 16,461 polling stations. The seats in Kolkata recorded the lowest percentage, a trend noticed in most elections. The state capital also witnessed some incidents of violence, particularly at Beliaghata in east Kolkata, from where police arrested 11 Trinamool workers for intimidating voters.

In Jorasanko in north Kolkata, where an under-construction flyover recently collapsed, causing several deaths, BJP MP Babul Supriyo accused Trinamool workers of heckling him while trying to enter a booth with his parents. As a crowd gathered to get a glimpse of Babul, Trinamool workers claimed Babul entered the booth with a large retinue, leading to a squabble. Local Trinamool MLA Smita Bakshi, who came to the aid of her worker, said that the BJP-led Central government is “trying to intimidate voters”.

Babul countered her claim by accusing the deployed policemen of being negligent in their duty. “Whatever the Election Commission is doing, that’s not enough and polling at 30-40% places is not free and fair,” Babul said.

Meanwhile, the poll percentage till 3 pm was recorded at 67.80, with complaints and instances of violence receding during the late afternoon, EC officials said.

The percentage in first two hours since 7 am stood at 6.29 pm, Murshidabad registered the highest at 8 pm and Kolkata, the lowest at around 3 pm. By 1 pm, the percentage had gone up to slightly over 57, with Murshidabad continuing to maintain a high percentage throughout the day, although Nadia registered the highest with nearly 82 at 6 pm.

The high turnout in Murshidabad is not likely to reap well for Trinamool, where most seats are held by Congress. While Trinamool is expected to face a tough time in Kolkata and Nadia, Burdwan could provide the party with some relief.

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