Over 80% Voting in Bengal, 73% in Assam in Phase-II Amid Clashes

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was rescued by CRPF after being confined for two hours at a polling booth in Nandigram. 

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India
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The second phase of polling for the West Bngal and the Assam Assembly elections ended on Thursday, 1 April with a voter turnout of 80.53 and 73.03 respectively.
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The second phase of polling for the West Bengal and the Assam Assembly elections ended on Thursday, 1 April with a voter turnout of 80.53 percent and 73.03 percent respectively.

The day witnessed high drama as Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to be rescued by the Central paramilitary forces today after having to stay confined for more than two hours at a polling booth in Nandigram amid an extremely tense face-off between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters.

Violence was reported at multiple places in Bengal including Keshpur, Debra, and Ghatal.

Polling was held in 30 constituencies in Bengal amid booth capturing allegations in Nandigram and ruckus at several places.

Meanwhile, in Assam 39 of the 126 Assembly constituencies voted on Thursday. Among those who cast their votes was Badruddin Ajmal of the AIUDF, which is contesting the polls in alliance with the Congress.

CM Mamata Threatens to Move Court Over Poll-Related Issues

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has threatened to move court alleging the Election Commission has not taken action in the poll-related complaints filed since Thursday morning.

Banerjee, as per PTI, said that 63 poll-related complaints have been lodged since morning.

According to ANI, the CM also alleged that people raising slogans are outsiders and are protected by the central forces.

“People who are raising slogans are outsiders. They came from Bihar and UP, they are being protected by Central Forces.”[sic.] Mamata said. 

When asked if an FIR will be filed over allegations of booth rigging at Boyal polling booth where she visited, Banerjee said, “We will check all footage of the polling booth and take appropriate steps.”

BJP candidate from Nandigram Suvendu Adhikari alleged that Mamata Banerjee stalled voting for two hours at the polling booth she visited earlier.

“Mamata stalled voting for two hours here. Around 90% of voting has happened in Nandigram but it is only 78% at this booth. Voting is going on peacefully here. There is no issue,” Adhikari said, as quoted by ANI.

In a startling allegation, the BJP leader alleged that Banerjee influenced officials during the Lok Sabha elections held two years ago and replaced votes for BJP with TMC in two district councils.

“Mamata pressurized DM and SDO during last general polls. In Arambag, the BJP candidate lost by 2,500 votes because the votes of 16 EVMs were not counted. The BJP had won Jhargram and Purulia Zilla Parishads but votes for lotus symbol were replaced with TMC symbol overnight,” Adhikari told news agency ANI.

Home Minister Has Told Central Agencies to Help BJP Goons, Alleges Mamata

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that Home Minister Amit Shah has asked the CRPF and other central agencies to help “BJP goons” at polling booths.

Mamata also asked Union Home Minister Amit Shah to “control goons who are heckling woman journalists in rallies”, saying she cannot reveal what she discussed with the election observers and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, whom she dialled from the polling booth where she was stuck for over two hours.

“I haven’t seen such a bad election,” Mamata said, according to ANI. She further alleged that the EC was taking no action over complaints by the TMC.

“We have given so many letters but they are one-sidedly supporting BJP candidates,” she said, as quoted by ANI.

“We have already lodged 63 complaints with Election Commission. I am not worried about Nandigram, but I am worried about democracy. I will win Nandigram with the blessings of 'Maa Maati Manush',” she added.

Clashes in Assam’s Barak Valley During Voting

Amid the second phase of polling, supporters of the BJP and AIUDF clashed in Assam's Barak Valley today, just ahead of the close of voting, reported NDTV.

According to the report, police charged at the crowds with batons to restore order in the tensed town. Policemen also reportedly fired blank rounds in the air during the clash as well.

Separately, the Congress has submitted a memorandum to Chief Electoral Officer, Assam seeking candidature disqualification of State Minister Pijush Hazarika for allegedly threatening a news reporter, reported ANI.

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