West Bengal: 10 held for violence during phase 1 of polling

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Kolkata, Mar 27 (PTI) At least 10 people were arrested for allegedly being involved in incidents of violence that occurred in two of the 30 constituencies of West Bengal where polling was held in the first of the eight-phase election on Saturday, state Chief Electoral officer Aariz Aftab said.

Seven people were arrested from Salboni seat in Paschim Medinipur district, where CPI(M) candidate Susanta Ghosh was heckled and stones were hurled at his car allegedly by the ruling TMC supporters.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari's younger brother Soumendu was attacked and his car was vandalised at Kanthi in Purba Medinipur district allegedly by TMC supporters and three persons were arrested.

'Other than some sporadic incidents of violence, polling was held in a peaceful manner in 30 assembly constituencies in West Bengal,' Aftab told reporters.

About the death of one person whose body was found near his home at Keshiari in Paschim Medinipur district, the CEO said that the Commission is waiting for the postmortem examination report.

BJP leaders claimed that Mongol Soren (35) was a party supporter and he was killed by TMC 'goons', a charge denied by the ruling party.

In its report to the EC, the district administration said the death had no connection with the polling process.

'The post mortem is being done at Keshiari Rural Hospital. We are waiting for the report,' Aftab said.

Asked whether any repoll will be held, the CEO said that the decision will be taken after scrutinising reports.

He said that some problems occurred with the VVPAT system after 100 votes were cast at a booth in Purba Medinipur district's Majna area and the VVPAT machine was replaced.

'The matter was addressed after which the polling was held smoothly,' he said.

A group of people blocked a road outside a polling station at Majna in the Kanthi Dakshin seat, claiming that the VVPAT slip showed results in favour of a particular party, no matter which outfit they voted for.

The CEO said that the Commission would look into the allegations of some political parties that personnel of the central forces 'were influencing voters to cast their votes for the BJP'.

'We are not aware of such an incident. We will enquire into it,' he added.

The Commission is also looking into an incident in which a bus for poll duty caught fire at Tulsidi in Purulia district on Friday night.

'The driver said he had dropped a bidi which probably led to the fire. Still, we are looking into the matter,' Aftab said.

On Friday night, the officer-in-charge of Patashpur police station, Dipak Chakraborty, and a paramilitary personnel were injured in a bomb attack when they were patrolling the area, an official said He said that a case has been registered in Patashpur police station in Purba Medinipur district in this regard. PTI SCH NN NN