1. Home
  2. English
  3. Violence in Manipur, West Bengal, First Phase Polling Recorded Average 60 Per cent Turnout
Violence in Manipur, West Bengal, First Phase Polling Recorded Average 60 Per cent Turnout

Violence in Manipur, West Bengal, First Phase Polling Recorded Average 60 Per cent Turnout

Social Share

Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Apr 19: Violence marred polling in strife-torn Manipur while the Trinamool Congress and BJP workers clashed against each other in Cooch Behar in West Bengal as an average of 60 per cent of the voters turned up to cast their votes in the first phase of polling in the Lok Sabha elections in 102 constituencies in 21 states and union territories across the country on Friday.

Despite stringent security arrangements, violence marred voting in Inner Manipur constituency. Shooting by miscreants broke out at a polling station at Thamanpokpi under Moirang Assembly segment. Three people are reportedly injured, prompting authorities to swiftly reinforce security measures in the area. Vandalism has also been reported at a polling station under Thongju Assembly seat in Imphal East district.

Even as Manipur recorded 68 per cent turnout when voting ended at 4 pm, one of the lowest in the state, several incidents of vandalism, armed people threatening voters not to come out of their homes, incidents of damaging electronic voting machine (EVM), allegations of proxy voting by an armed group, and one incident of firing were reported.

Visuals from a polling booth in Khaidem in Imphal West show a group of people breaking an electronic voting machine (EVM) over allegations that an armed group voted by proxy on behalf of some 100 people, sources said. Soon, Inner Manipur Congress candidate A Bimol Akoijam rushed to the polling booth and spoke with the security personnel and polling agents.

Reports of destroying EVMs were reported from Bamon Kampu polling station at Kshetrigao assembly constituency, Imphal East, Sekmaijin Khunao Mamang polling station, Kakching, Thongju assembly constituency polling station, Imphal East, Iroishemba Mamang Leikai polling station and Uripok assembly constituency, Imphal West, Khongman Zone-V polling station under Thongju assembly constituency, Imphal East, and Khurai Thongam Leikai’s S Ibobi Primary School under Khurai assembly constituency, Imphal East.

Two people, K Johnson and Sorokhaibam Sunil, were assaulted at Arapati Maning polling station under Keirao assembly constituency in Imphal East. They were taken to Amina Hospital in Lilong. A group of unidentified people came in a white Fortuner SUV and fired a few rounds on people in Moirang Kampu Primary School polling station. An individual, Koisnam Sanayaima, was hit by a bullet.

Unidentified people opened fire at Wangoo polling station in Kakching. Unidentified people fired nearly 30 rounds Thamnapokpi polling station under Moirang assembly constituency in Bishnupur. Voting stopped due to allegations of proxy voting at Khaidem Upper Primary School polling booth under Konthoujam assembly constituency in Imphal West.

In Bengal, Trinamool Congress and BJP workers clashed in Cooch Behar and accused each other of violence, intimidating voters and assault on poll agents. Both the TMC and the BJP clashed and lodged 80 and 39 complaints against each other respectively related to poll violence, voter intimidation, and assaults on poll agents, sources from both parties said.

As the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections kicked off in West Bengal with three constituencies going to polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attacked her INDIA bloc allies Congress and the CPI(M), saying she would not support them in the state as they were “BJP agents” there.

Speaking at a rally in Murshidabad, Banerjee also said all pre-poll surveys were fake and the BJP would “not get more than 200 seats.” “Some say, we are INDIA, vote for us. India is not here, it belongs to Delhi. Congress and CPI(M) are not INDIA here. They are BJP. One vote for them means two votes for BJP. Don’t even cast a vote [for them],” Banerjee said. “We will lead the Opposition alliance INDIA in the coming days. But in Bengal, CPI(M) and Congress are agents of BJP. So I will not support them here,” she added.

Banerjee also criticised the BJP and the Election Commission of India (ECI). “The BJP will not get even 200 seats in the country. All surveys are fake. Lakhs of rupees have been poured into the survey. Do not listen to it…BJP will not win,” she said. She also commented on the ECI’s role during the first phase of voting. “The one who is marrying is also the priest of the marriage – I am seeing this for the first time. How come you are voting with only the central forces…leaving out the state police? So that people cannot vote?” Banerjee asked.

Strongly reacting to the alleged poll-related violence in West Bengal, the BJP leader in the state Agnimitra Paul commented, “Bengal has turned into Bihar” and alleged that the Trinamool Congress was trying to silence opponents by “threatening or murdering.”

In a video statement, Ms Paul said, “A few years back we used to see such things in Bihar, but Bengal has turned into new Bihar, new Kashmir. Booth president is being kidnapped. Booth rigging is being done. Opponents have to be silenced…either by threatening or murdering… this is Mamata Banerjee’s politics in West Bengal.” She, however, was silent over the violence-marred BJP-ruled Manipur.

Ms Paul, MLA from Asansol South, is contesting the Lok Sabha polls as BJP’s candidate in Medinipur. Ms Paul’s remark is a part of the political blame game that has started in the wake of the violence.  “The BJP, along with central forces, has unleashed a reign of terror to rig the elections. Our workers are being harassed and beaten,” north Bengal Development minister and Trinamool leader Udayan Guha said.

The BJP denied the allegations and claimed that they were targeted in many areas. “The TMC, sensing defeat, is trying to intimidate voters. BJP workers have been assaulted in various areas. Wherever Udayan Guha goes, he provokes people to indulge in violence. In many places, even media persons have been assaulted,” the BJP said.

The 102 constituencies where the polling was held in the first phase included Tamil Nadu (all 39), Rajasthan (12), Uttar Pradesh (8), Madhya Pradesh (6), Uttarakhand (5), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Meghalaya (2), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1), Mizoram (1), Nagaland (1), Puducherry (1), Sikkim (1) and Lakshadweep (1). Besides, there were five seats each in Assam and Maharashtra, four in Bihar, three in West Bengal, two in Manipur, and one each in Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, and Chhattisgarh.

Four states — Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — will also pick new assemblies alongside this Lok Sabha election. Of these, Arunachal Pradesh (60 seats) and Sikkim (32) are first down.


Your email address will not be published.

Join our WhatsApp Channel

And stay informed with the latest news and updates.

Join Now
revoi whats app qr code