Ishita Manna, a student hailing from West Bengal, took to her Facebook page to write about booth capturing and 'gundaraj' of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), which she said she witnessed herself in the state during the sixth phase of elections when she went to cast her vote at a booth in Haldia, Tamluk constituency.
She wrote: “Today, when my turn had arrived to cast vote in Haldia, there was a scuffle happening when a polling agent was not being permitted to sit in the booth. This is just the beginning; a woman comes out screaming that someone else cast her vote when she was getting her finger inked and it wasn't the first. In around 30 minutes that I stood there around 6 people were arguing for their right to vote. Others couldn't even say anything because around 10 people inside the venue were roaming with guns strapped on their belt. When my turn came, a person inside the booth asked me to cast vote for the ruling party.”
The election in West Bengal is spread across all the seven phases of the Lok Sabha polls.
During the 2016 Assembly elections, incidents were reported from across the state where people were allegedly killed for filing nominations against the ruling TMC.
During the ongoing Lok Sabha elections as well, there were reports of violence between the workers of ruling TMC and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Ahead of the second phase of the polls, a Left candidate was allegedly attacked in Cooch Behar by unknown people.
On April 18 – the day of the polling – the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] candidate and Raiganj sitting MP Mohammed Salim’s car was attacked by unknown people when he went to a polling booth on Islampur. Reports of sporadic violence came from Darjeeling constituency as well.
On April 23, during the phase three polling in Murshidabad, three TMC workers were injured after some unknown people threw a bomb at them. UNI had reported: “One person named Tearul Abdul Kalam, reportedly a congress worker, was lynched near booth no 185 at Baligram- Murshidabad.”
During phase four, there were reports from Birbhum and Dubrajpur saying that central forces had fired inside a polling station when a mob had tried to attack them.
The BJP candidate from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, had alleged that he was attacked by TMC workers during phase five. On the same day, at Bongaon Lok Sabha seat, one TMC worker and one cop were injured in the violence.
During the 6th phase on May 12, the district magistrate from Bankura constituency was removed by the election commission in response to his intervention in the violence during the polls. Outside the polling booth in Bankura, a BJP worker was severely injured in a clash with TMC workers.
In all these six phases, the state witnessed numerous incidents of violence mainly organised by the ruling TMC and BJP which included episodes of vandalism, attacks on candidates and security officials, attacks on media, and stopping the voters from voting.
Also read: Elections 2019: Bankura Set to Vote Another Change?