Violence Mars Bypolls in Uttarakhand, WB

Stray incidents of violence were reported during the assembly bypolls at four constituencies of West Bengal amid an average voter's turnout of 62.71 p.c. on Wednesday

New Delhi/Dehradun/Kolkata/Bhopal: Amid sporadic incidents of violence in Uttarakhand and West Bengal, moderate to brisk polling was recorded in 13 Assembly constituencies across seven states where bypolls took place on Wednesday. The electoral exercise, the first since the Lok Sabha polls, will decide the fate of many veterans and some debutantes.

In Uttarakhand's Manglaur Assembly bypoll in Haridwar was marred by violence on Wednesday as two groups clashed at the Libberhedi polling booth, amid allegations from the Congress that ruling party members fired several rounds into the air to intimidate voters. The Election Commission, however, denied these charges. Three people were injured, with one hospitalised, following the altercation at polling booth 53-54 in Libberhedi, Roorkee. Upon learning of the incident, Congress candidate Mohammed Nizamuddin rushed to the scene and transported the injured supporters to the hospital. "Eyewitnesses and media persons informed me that 100 rounds were fired in the air to frighten Congress workers and voters. Three people are seriously injured, with one in critical condition," Nizamuddin alleged.

Stray incidents of violence were reported during the assembly bypolls at four constituencies of West Bengal amid an average voter's turnout of 62.71 p.c. on Wednesday. In most cases, the allegations were against the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC). Raiganj in North Dinajpur recorded the highest voting, 67.12 p.c., among the four. It was followed by Ranaghat South in Nadia (65.37 p.c.), Bagda in North 24 Parganas (65.15 p.c.) and Maniktala (51.39 p.c.). Except, Maniktala, the three seats went to the BJP in 2021.

At Bagda, the car in the convoy of BJP candidate, Binoy Kumar Biswas, was attacked. The rear windscreen was smashed. Mr Biswas blamed the TMC for carrying out the attack out of fear of losing the seat. At Maniktala in North Kolkata, BJP candidate Kalyan Choubey was seen chasing some fake voters on the run.

The state BJP also lodged a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal and demanded repoll in 89 booths of Maniktala. CPM candidate Rajib Majumdar, who contested there, alleged the outsiders’ role in voting.

At Ranaghat South, a local BJP leader, Goutam Biswas, was roughed up by some miscreants. He was admitted to Ranaghat Hospital. Houses of some BJP agents were also attacked late on Tuesday night.

The bypoll to Amarwara Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh recorded an impressive polling of over 74 p.c. The bypoll was necessitated following resignation of sitting Congress MLA Kamlesh Shah from the Assembly after he quit the party and joined BJP ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha polls this year.

In Punjab, the bypoll to the Jalandhar West Assembly segment saw a voter turnout of 51.30 p.c. till 5 pm. At many polling stations, plants were given to voters who exercised their franchise. The ruling AAP has fielded Mohinder Bhagat, the son of former minister and former BJP MLA Bhagat Chunni Lal. Bhagat had joined the AAP after quitting the BJP last year.

In Bihar, a voter turnout of 51.14 p.c. was recorded till 5 pm in the bypoll to Rupauli Assembly seat. The bypoll was necessitated following the resignation of sitting MLA Bima Bharti, who won the seat for JD(U) several times in the past but quit the party to contest the Lok Sabha elections on an RJD ticket. Following her loss in the parliamentary election, she contested in the bypoll as an RJD candidate.

Brisk polling was witnessed in the bypoll to Vikravandi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu with voters queuing up in large numbers at polling stations to exercise their franchise. A voter turnout of 77.73 p.c. was recorded till 5 pm. The bypoll was necessitated by the demise of DMK legislator N. Pughazhendhi.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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