Sporadic violence marks last phase of 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Serious charges were traded by the TMC and the BJP over the violence witnessed in West Bengal.

Sporadic violence was reported as polling got underway in the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections in 59 constituencies. The fate of 918 candidates from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand and Union Terriory, Chandigarh will be decided in this phase. Re-polling in Tamil Nadu and Kerala too is also underway.

Violence has been reported from West Bengal’s Basirhat Lok Sabha constituency. Voters protested outside the polling station in Basirhat. BJP workers alleged that TMC workers are not allowing voters to cast their votes. BJP candidate from Basirhat, Sayantan Basu says, “100 people were stopped from voting. We will take them to cast their vote.”

BJP MP candidate Anupam Hazra of Jadavpur said: “Women TMC workers with covered faces are casting proxy votes, it is difficult to establish their identity. When we raised objection to it, they created a ruckus at the polling station.”

“Our candidates are attacked in Bengal and TMC office bearers are not allowing the voters to go inside the polling booths. As the Bengal Chief Minister has threatened taking revenge, we fear that BJP workers will be attacked again once the polling ends. Therefore, we demand the central armed forces stay there until the model code of conduct is lifted,” said Defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.

Voters in Madhya Pradesh boycotted six booths over some local issues. Efforts were on to persuade the voters to exercise their democratic right, MP’s Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told reporters in Bhopal.

A minor fight broke out between DMK and AIADMK cadres at Thiruparakundram. DMK workers alleged that AIADMK cadres from other districts were present at various booths. They also blamed the police for failing to vacate them.

Congress president, Rahul Gandhi in his twitter handle, praised women for playing a key role in the ongoing elections for turning up in large numbers. “Today is the 7th and last phase of polling. Our mothers and sisters have played a key role in these elections, not just as candidates, but also as committed voters whose voices must be heard. I salute them all,” he tweeted.

The TMC on Sunday (May 19) wrote to the Election Commission of India criticizing the visit of Prime Minster Narendra Modi to Kedarnath. “Election campaign for last phase of polling for Lok Sabha polls is over, surprisingly Narendra Modi’s Kedarnath Yatra is being widely covered by the media for the last 2 days. This is a gross violation of model code of conduct.” The prime minister has thanked the EC for letting him offer prayers at Kedarnath.

The security guards of RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tej Pratap Yadav beat up a camera person in Patna after he allegedly broke the windscreen of Yadav’s car. Tej Pratap Yadav was leaving after casting his vote. “My bouncers have not done anything. I was leaving after casting my vote when a photographer hit the windscreen of my car. I have filed an FIR in the incident. A conspiracy is being hatched to kill me,” he said.