Polling day in Nandigram: Violence, face-off and drama
Voting day in Nandigram during the second phase of the West Bengal Assembly election saw multiple incidents of violence.
Several incidents of violence, face-offs between the Trinamool Congress and Bhartiya Janta party workers marked the second phase of polling in the high profile Nandigram seat, where chief minister Mamata Banerjee is locked in a high- stakes electoral battle with her former lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari now with the BJP.
As the voting process commenced at 7 am, there were no reports of violent clashes among political activists, barring an incident in the Bhimkata area where the BJP candidate faced agitation from a group of TMC workers. However, as the day progressed, sporadic incidents of violence from reported from the constituency.
Considering the high-octane political campaign ahead of the day of voting, the Election Commission had imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC in Nandigram.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was supposed to leave Nandigram for North Bengal during the second half of the day on Thursday, but decided to stay back in Nandigram and fanned out to various polling booths in constituency to take stock of the situation after reports of stray violence and booth jamming.
After reports of violence in the Nandigram’s Boyal area, Banerjee reached the polling booths to monitor the situation where she was greeted with “Jai Shri Ram” slogans. Supporters of BJP and TMC allegedly indulged in violence, as TMC leaders demanded re-polling in booth number 7 of the village.
An agitated Banerjee also slammed the EC for not taking any action despite lodging several complaints and threatened to move to court over it. She had alleged that BJP workers were indulging in "booth capturing".
"We have lodged 63 complaints since morning. But not a single action has been taken. We will move court over it. This is unacceptable. The EC is working as per Amit Shah's instructions," she said while sitting outside booth number 7 in Boyal in Nandigram, reported PTI.
Later in the day, Banerjee also rang up the West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to complain about the situation.
On the other hand, BJP’s candidate Suvendu Adhikari rode on his bike to cast his vote at Nandanayak Bar Primary School around 7.30 am. Later in the day, he ventured out to take the stock of the situation where his vehicle was gheraoed at various locations by TMC supporters.
"I am used to such protests by TMC goons. They are all followers of Mamata begum (Mamata Banerjee). Let them do whatever they want till the results are out on May 2," Adhikari told news agency PTI.
Protesters also blocked the road in Nandigram's Block 1, alleging Central forces stopped them from going to the polling stations. Apart from Nandigram, separate incidents of violence were reported in different parts of West Bengal as well.
Nandigram recorded a voter turnout of 81 per cent during the second phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal.
(With inputs from PTI)