Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | ePaper

Violence again in Bengal in last round of voting

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Gandhi has struggled to make himself heard above the din of the BJP's campaign juggernaut. Internet photo

Election 2019 Phase 7: West Bengal remained tense during the final round of voting.
New Delhi:  Bengal witnessed crude bombs, lathicharge and claims of attacks on the BJP candidates on the last day of election and people across eight states elected candidates for 59 Lok Sabha seats. Rival groups threw crude bombs at Bengal's Bhatpara and were brought under control only when the police used batons. Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Central forces should stay in the state till counting. Among the main contestants in this phase was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking re-election from Varanasi. Poling was also held on 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh - all in the eastern part of the state - and on all 13 seats of Congress-ruled Punjab.
Voting took place on 13 seats of Punjab and an equal number of seats in Uttar Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, eight seats each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, four in Himachal Pradesh, three in Jharkhand and one in Chandigarh.
A bypoll was held in Goa's Panaji, made necessary by the death of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in March. Bye-elections were also held in four assembly constituencies  of Tamil Nadu -- Sulur, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram and Thiruparankundram -- and the Dehri assembly seat in Bihar.
    Bengal saw the most heated battle as the BJP, which won only two seats in the state in 2014, is targeting 23 of its 42 Lok Sabha seats. Today, rival groups threw crude bombs during by-polls for Bengal's Bhatpara assembly seat. The clash came under control only after the police used batons. Two BJP candidates from Kolkata and one from Diamond Harbour claimed they were attacked.
    Trinamool blames the BJP for the violence and accused Central forces of "taking orders from BJP, mercilessly beating up citizens and Trinamool workers". Mamata Banerjee said: "The torture that BJP workers and central forces have carried out today since the morning, is unprecedented. I have never seen anything like this before".
    Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has called for the presence of Central forces in Bengal till the counting of votes gets over. "We fear the TMC will carry out a concerted and synchronised round of violence post-election and that's why Central forces must remain there. The TMC has been persistent with their ideology of violence," she said.

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