Bengal elections: First time voter shot dead
Cooch Behar, Apr 10: A first-time voter was allegedly shot dead on Saturday in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, where 15.85 per cent polling was recorded till 9 am in the fourth phase of assembly elections amid sporadic incidents of violence, officials said.
Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in 44 constituencies, including nine seats in Howrah, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly, they said.
In a shocking incident, an 18-year-old voter, Ananda Barman, was allegedly gunned down by miscreants outside booth number 85 in Pathantuli area after clashes broke out between activists of the ruling TMC and the BJP.
The culprits, who are yet to be identified, managed to flee, the officials said.
The incident led to violence in the area as bombs were hurled, prompting central forces to baton-charge to bring the situation under control, police said.
Both the TMC and BJP claimed that Barman belonged to their party, but his family members said he was an activist of the saffron party.
"We have received information about a person being shot outside a polling booth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar. We have sought a report from the micro observer," an Election Commission official said.
The Trinamool Congress has moved the EC, complaining against the BJP of not allowing its agents to enter several booths at Coochbehar's Natabari, Sitalkuchi, Tufanganj, Mathabhanga and Dinhata.
The BJP has denied the allegations.
In Ganguly Bagan area in Jadavpur constituency, the booth agent of CPI(M) candidate Sujan Chakraborty was reportedly attacked by a "fake voter", who threw chilli powder at her while trying to escape, the officials said.
A central police contingent was rushed to the spot following the incident.
Meanwhile, BJP candidate Indranil Khan accused the central forces of not taking action against bogus voters in Kasba constituency in Kolkata.
Over 1.15 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 373 candidates, including Union minister Babul Supriyo and state ministers Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas.
Voting will continue till 6.30 pm.
Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting with 789 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) being deployed to guard 15,940 polling stations.