Bengal, April 10: The polling began at 7 am on Saturday for the fourth phase of the assembly election in West Bengal, clashes broke out at Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar with bombs being hurled outside a polling station.
Tension gripped polling booth number 285 in Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar on Saturday as bombs were hurled outside the booth. Some groups also allegedly opened fire while the police recovered several crude bombs from the area.
Police resorted to lathi-charge to defuse tension in the area.
Trinamool Congress on Saturday wrote to the Election Commission saying “across several booths in Sitalkuchi, Natalbari, Tufanganj and Dinhata, BJP goons are creating a ruckus outside the booth and preventing TMC agents from entering the booth“.
TMC demanded action against BJP for allegedly disrupting polling in the area. Meanwhile, a TMC candidate from the Natabari constituency in Cooch Behar, Rabindra Nath Ghosh was seen wearing a helmet on Saturday morning. He said, “I am wearing this to avoid any untoward incident.”
North Bengal, with its 54 seats spread across seven districts have all the wherewithal to be a game-changer this election, with the BJP striving hard to hold its fort in the region, and the TMC seeking to recover its lost ground amid changing political equations.
Once considered a bastion of the Congress and the Left Front, north Bengal districts – mostly dominated by tribal and minority communities — have largely remained out of bounds for the TMC, barring a brief period of time.
On Thursday, TMC alleged that its Mathabhanga candidate Girindra Nath Barman was brutally attacked allegedly by BJP goons in Mathabhanga of Cooch Behar.
Barman is known as one of the key players who spearheaded the movement to build Panchanan Barma Univerisity in Cooch Behar and is respected across all parties, said the party in a statement.
At least 187 companies of CAPF, the highest deployment of forces among poll-bound districts in the phase, are in Cooch Behar, which has witnessed sporadic incidents of violence, including an attack on BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, in the run-up to the elections.