Kolkata: Multiple cases of violence were reported in West Bengal on Thursday as the state undergoes the third phase of polling.
First, violence erupted in Murshidabad district of West Bengal leaving a CPI-M activist dead after being attacked by crude bombs.
The incident occurred in Domkal, one of the 62 seats in which polling for the third phase is underway, police confirmed.
“Tahidul Islam (30), said to be a polling agent has been killed. Prime facie it appears crude bombs were thrown at him. We are verifying all the facts,” said a police officer.
Violence was also reported in Burdwan where four people were arrested for disruption. Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has alleged foul play by the ruling Trinamool Congress but TMC has denied the charges.
Earlier, people had lined up in large numbers outside the polling booths in West Bengal, as voting began around 7 am for the third phase of Bengal Assembly polls involving 62 seats spread over four districts.
22 constituencies in Murshidabad, 17 in Nadia, 16 in Burdwan districts and 7 in North Kolkata are up for grabs. Burdwan is going through the second and final round of voting today where nine constituencies went to a meeting at which candidates in an election had addressed potential voters on April 11.
Over 1.37 crore voters are eligible to choose their legislators across 16,461 polling stations, together with 10 auxiliary booths, from a field of 418 candidates out of which 34 are women.
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Five years ago, in the assembly polls, out of 62, then allies, Trinamool and Congress had captured 45 seats in all. Trinamool won 29 while the Congress got 16.
The CPI-M had won 14, and the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Samajwadi Party and All India Forward Bloc had to satisfy themselves with one each.
The ruling Trinamool and the BJP are contesting in all the seats in this phase.
Among the major candidates in this phase are state ministers and Trinamool contestants Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay, Sashi Panja, Sadhan Pandey, Subrata Saha, former state minister and CPI-M candidates Anisur Rahaman and Debesh Das, Congress legislature party leader Md. Sohrab and former state party president Somendranath Mitra and Ritesh Tiwari from the BJP.
Of the 418 candidates in the fray, 61 are crorepatis, 80 have criminal cases against them, and 65 of them have records of serious criminal offences like murder and rape.
So far, voters in 105 of the total 294 constituencies have exercised their right to franchise on three dates — April 4, 11 and 17 — in the first two phases.
West Bengal is having a staggered six-phase election this time. Polling for the remaining phases will be held on April 25, 30 and May 5.