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Charges mar Bengal first phase

The Telegraph takes a closer look at some of the alleged incidents

By The Telegraph in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar

  • Published 12.04.19, 1:32 AM
  • Updated 12.04.19, 1:33 AM
Paramilitary personnel walk through the dry bed of the Pana river at Kalchini near Alipurduar.
Paramilitary personnel walk through the dry bed of the Pana river at Kalchini near Alipurduar. Picture by Anirban Choudhury

Voting was overall peaceful in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday in the first phase of the general election, except for sporadic incidents of violence. According to administrative sources, polling percentages in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar till 5pm were 81.94 and 81.05, respectively.

The Telegraph takes a look at some of the alleged incidents.

A boy takes a selfie near a booth in Cooch Behar on Thursday.
A boy takes a selfie near a booth in Cooch Behar on Thursday. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti

Cooch Behar

Where: Pachagar in Mathabhanga

What happened: The vehicle of Gobinda Roy, the Bloc’s candidate, was ransacked.

Allegation: Roy said the car was ransacked when he protested a TMC supporter’s bid to influence voters. Trinamul denied the charge.

Where: Singimari-Madnakura in Sitai

What happened: EVM ransacked, polling stopped

Allegation: BJP candidate Nisith Pramanik said Trinamul workers had been casting false votes at a booth. He alleged they had vandalised the machine following a protest. Trinamul said BJP supporters were involved in the incident.

Where: Natabari, Fulbari and some areas of Cooch Behar

What happened: EVM malfunction

Allegation: District Trinamul chief Rabindranath Ghosh said at least 80 EVMs did not work and sniffed a conspiracy for the malfunction.

Official response: An official said the EVMs were replaced.

Where: Government Polytechnic in Cooch Behar, which is also the distribution-cum-collection centre

What Happened: Nisith Pramanik held a demonstration, demanding re-polling at 857 booths where paramilitary personnel were not deployed.

Allegation: Pramanik alleged that there had been malpractices at the 857 booths.

Official reaction: The candidate’s allegation will be looked into, said an official.

Alipurduar

Where: A booth at Patwaripara in Sulkapara panchayat

What happened: The name and the symbol of BJP candidate John Barla were covered with adhesive tapes on the EVM.

Allegation: Barla alleged Trinamul was behind it.

Official response: Police said it was “just a rumour”.

Where: Kumargram, Tufanganj and Nagrakata

What Happened: Voters were allegedly chased away from 13 booths under Kumargram, Tufanganj and Nagrakata Assembly segments.

Allegation: Ganga Prasad Sharma, the district BJP chief, accused Trinamul of chasing away the voters. The BJP demanded re-polling. Trinamul has denied the charge.

Official reaction: The administration will speak to polling personnel.

Where: Kumargram

What Happened: Trinamul candidate Dasrath Tirkey had to wait for 30 minutes because of an EVM malfunctioning

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