Unlike the first two phases, the clash was not between the BJP and TMC. This time it was the Congress versus TMC, as Jangipur, Malda and Murshidabad are small and only pockets where the Congress, as an organisation, survives
New Delhi: The third phase of polling in Bengal was marred by violence, bombing and even mysterious deaths of polling officers. The polling was punctuated with allegations of Hindu voters not being allowed to vote in parts of Murshidabad.
Of violence, double voting, booth capturing
Unlike the first two phases, the clash was not between the BJP and TMC. This time it was the Congress versus TMC, as Jangipur, Malda and Murshidabad are small and only pockets where the Congress, as an organisation, survives.
The day started with violence in Kasmundi area of Murshidabad. There were also reports of a booth-capturing attempt in Ratua.
MyNation accessed a picture where two people were seen voting together, a clear violation of the polling rule. Later a large contingent of paramilitary force was rushed, say sources.
Clash with bomb
As the day progressed, scattered violence turned into organised hooliganism. Bombs were hurled in close proximity of a polling booth. At least three political workers were injured in Domkal Municipality ward No. 7 on Tuesday.
However, unlike the previous two phases, this time the victims turned out to be from the TMC cadre. Those hurt have been identified as Tujam Ansari, Masadul Islam and Mallick Mondal. The police said, "Among the injured, one person is the husband of Domkal's councillor. The injured have been admitted to the Murshidabad Medical College Hospital".
Bombs were hurled near polling booth no 27 and 28 in Murshidabad's Raninagar area.
As the third phase of polling in Bengal drew to a close, a casualty was reported. One person died in Congress-TMC clashes in the Bhagwangola area that is in Murshidabad, the district ridden with violence throughout the day. Just meters away from booth no. 188 at Bhagwangola, severe clashes broke out, resulting in death.
The dead voter has been identified as Tairul Sheikh. The Congress claimed Sheikh was their worker and blamed the death on the ruling TMC. Congress claimed that another worker Mehboob has been injured.
Though TMC denied these allegations, the Congress has decided to raise the issue with the Election Commission.
The mysterious death of polling agent
In Buniadpur of the South Dinajpur district, the corpse of a polling agent was found hanging at his house.
Though the reason of the death is yet to be ascertained, many are connecting it with the hangings of BJP cadres in Purulia.
Twenty-two-year-old Shishu Pal Shahish, 18-year-old Trilochan Mahato and 32-year-old Dulal Kumar were found hanging in different parts of Purulia. The BJP alleged these were murders given to look like suicides.
Bengal in recent times has seen a vicious cycle of violence, death and regressive political intimidation. This was truer during panchayat polls when it saw 33% of seats go uncontested because the opposition wasn't allowed to file nomination papers.
The violence goes on unabated even in the third phase of the Lok Sabha election in Bengal. Many wonder whether 'free and fair' are adjectives that don't apply to the state.
Read Exclusive COVID-19 Coronavirus News updates, at MyNation.
Last Updated Apr 23, 2019, 6:37 PM IST