Parties like the CPM and the BJP have accused ruling Trinamool Congress workers of intimidating voters as 17 of West Bengal’s 42 constituencies vote today, in a phase crucial for Mamata Banerjee.
As in previous phases, the state has seen a good voter turnout at 67.34 per cent by 3 pm, amid reports of violence. Four people were shot at on their way to a polling station in Basirhat constituency, 40 km from Kolkata, and about a dozen others allegedly suffered knife injuries.
A BJP councillor alleged that bombs were hurled at her as she returned from voting. She was unhurt but livid, accusing the Trinamool of trying to scare away voters.
Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “Armed attacks by (Trinamool) goons leaves 22 CPI-M workers seriously injured, 4 with bullet wounds. Central forces mere onlookers!!”
But the Trinamool alleged that it was the Left’s activists that had injured 11 of its workers. Accusing the media of exaggerated reports, Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien tweeted, “People are voting peacefully, fearlessly, wholeheartedly in Bengal. 2 local TV channels with ‘agendas’ making a mountain out of a molehill (sic).”
Mamata Banerjee’s party won 14 of its 19 seats from the region in and around Kolkata, that is voting. The CPM had won none. The other three seats were taken by the CPI, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and the Congress, which was then Mamata Banerjee’s partner.