West Bengal

1. 15.35% polling recorded in West Bengal’s seven constituencies by 9 am.
2. The Election Commission of India (ECI) received 471 complaints regarding the polling process.
3. Isolated incidents of violence were reported during the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Kolkata, May 20: Amid reports of isolated incidents of violence, a little over 15 per cent of polling was recorded until 9 am in the seven constituencies of West Bengal where polling is underway for the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Monday.

According to an official from the Election Commission of India (ECI), “About 15.35 per cent polling was recorded till 9 am. A total of 471 complaints have been received so far.”

Political parties in West Bengal lodged complaints with the poll body about malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), agents being stopped from entering polling booths, and voters being threatened or prevented from casting their votes in different constituencies.

Polling is being held in Bangaon (15.19 per cent), Barrackpore (15.08 per cent), Howrah (15.2 per cent), Uluberia (17.25 per cent), Sreerampur (14.43 per cent), Hooghly (14.01 per cent), and Arambagh (16.38 per cent) Lok Sabha constituencies.

A clash between TMC and BJP workers broke out at Swarupnagar in the Bangaon Lok Sabha constituency, leaving four BJP workers injured. Union Minister and BJP Bangaon candidate Shantanu Thakur alleged that central forces were not being sent to places where trouble broke out.

“The police are not seen in places like Gayespur where our polling agent was beaten up by TMC workers. Central forces are not being sent to such places,” said Thakur, who later visited the injured party worker admitted to a hospital.

In Barrackpore, BJP candidate Arjun Singh faced “Go Back” slogans when he was visiting one of the polling booths.

At Liluah in Howrah, BJP candidate Rathin Chakraborty also faced protests from TMC workers while visiting polling booths.

In Hooghly, BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee took a dig at TMC star candidate Rachana Banerjee and warned of retaliation if her party agents were attacked.

“The Election Commission is ready, and we are also ready. Here, the TMC’s corruption is our main opponent. If our agents are attacked, there will be retaliation,” said Chatterjee.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Monday removed a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan from poll duty in the Uluberia Lok Sabha constituency following a complaint of molestation against him on Sunday, an official said.

Also Read: EC Removes BSF Personnel from Election Duty in Bengal After ‘Molestation’ Complaint in Uluberia

A woman alleged she was molested by two personnel of a central paramilitary force in the Uluberia constituency, and a police complaint was subsequently lodged.

As many as 1,25,23,702 voters, including 63,51,320 men, 61,72,034 women, and 348 belonging to the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise across 13,481 polling stations in West Bengal.

The polling process has been marked by a robust deployment of security forces to ensure a smooth and fair election.

However, the instances of violence and malfunctions reported highlight the challenges faced in conducting elections in a highly polarized environment.

As the day progresses, the ECI continues to monitor the situation closely, aiming to address any further issues promptly to ensure the integrity of the voting process.