Clashes mar voting of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal

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Kolkata: Reports of clashes between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started pouring in as soon as voting for three of West Bengal’s 42 seats began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls at 7am on Friday. At least one person was injured in a clash between workers and supporters of the two arch-rivals at Chandmari near Cooch Behar town. Stone-throwing was also reported.

Anant Barman, a local TMC functionary, was hospitalised after he was allegedly injured in a crude bomb attack at Bhetaguri. State minister Udayan Guha rushed to see Barman in hospital.

In 2019, the BJP won all three seats–Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, and Jalpaiguri–where polling was being held in the first phase. Until 9 am, 15.2% voting was recorded in Cooch Behar, 15.91% in Alipurduar, and 14.13% in Jalpaiguri.

TMC and BJP accused each other of intimidating voters, preventing them from reaching polling booths and assaulting booth agents. In areas such as Toofanganj in Cooch Behar and Dabgram-Fulbari in Jalpaiguri, temporary election offices were allegedly set afire.

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