Phase 7 Lok Sabha polls: Violence in Bengal, clashes in Punjab reported

RSTV Bureau
Kolkata: Muslim women wait at a polling station to cast their votes for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Kolkata, Sunday, May 19, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Kolkata: Muslim women wait at a polling station to cast their votes for the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Kolkata, Sunday, May 19, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Incidents of violence in West Bengal and clashes in Punjab were reported during the seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha polls on Sunday.

The last phase of Lok Sabha elections, which will decide the fate of 918 candidates including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also saw EVM glitches and poll boycott at some booths.

Voting is underway in nine seats in West Bengal, incidents of violence were reported in West Bengal.

According to BJP’s North Kolkata candidate Rahul Sinha, a crude bomb was hurled near Girish Park in the constituency around noon. Police, however, said crackers were burst in the area, and polling was underway peacefully.

In Kolkata south, TMC candidate Mala Roy alleged that she was stopped from entering polling booths.

Sporadic clashes were reported in Kolkata and its surrounding areas, with TMC workers claiming that voters were being intimidated by central forces outside booths.

BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy in Diamond Harbour constituency alleged that his car was vandalized in Budge Budge area. Similar reports also came in from Jadavpur constituency, where BJP candidate Anupam Hazra’s car came under the attack of unidentified men.

“Polling has by and large been peaceful in the nine seats. There have been no complaints of any violence from any of the polling booths,” an election official told PTI.

“There were also reports of EVM glitches in several polling stations. We have sent reserve EVMs to booths, where the voting process was temporarily hampered due to technical glitches,” he added.

Punjab saw a polling percentage of 55.44 per cent till 5 pm in 13 Lok Sabha seats. More than 50 per cent turnout was registered in lone Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, EC app stated. Maximum polling percentage was witnessed at 62.67 in Sangrur and the lowest was in Hoshiarpur at 49.11.

In the morning, there were some reports of technical glitches in EVMs at several places including Ludhiana, Samana and Moga. Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said eight ballot units, 13 control units, and eight voter-verified paper audit trail have been replaced.

There were also reports of clashes between Congress and Akali-BJP workers in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda and Gurdaspur. At Talwandi Sabo, Akalis alleged that shots were also fired by ruling party workers.

In the last phase of Lok Sabha polls, over 10.01 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. The Election Commission has set up more than 1.12 lakh polling stations and has deployed security personnel for smooth conduct of polls.

An average of 66.88 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the last six phases. The whole elections were spread over 38 days. Counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.

(With inputs from agency)