Widespread violence in poll-bound West Bengal, one killed in Mukherjee’s Jangipur constituency

May 7th, 2009 - 3:07 pm ICT by ANI  

Jangipur (West Bengal), May 7 (ANI): One CPM worker was reportedly killed in the Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal on Thursday, from where incumbent External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is contesting this year’s general elections.

According to reports, activists of the CPI-M and the Congress are engaged in clashes across West Bengal’s Murshidabad District. There has been a report of a street explosion as well as sporadic incidents of stone pelting.

Earlier in the day, at least one activist of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) was reportedly killed and two Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) activists were injured in clashes outside a polling booth in Nandigram.

Television reports said that the incident took place in the Gokulnagar area of Nandigram District in West Bengal despite the presence of a high security detail.

Police confirmed incidents of bomb throwing, ransacking and looting.

Among the 17 constituencies spread over seven districts in West Bengal, Nandigram and Singur, the epicentre of the land stir that turned the tables on the ruling CPM in the 2008 panchayat polls, have been declared the most sensitive.

Singur falls under the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat and Nandigram is part of Tamluk. Both Singur and Nandigram will play a key role in determining the results of these two Lok Sabha seats.

Considering the sensitive nature of the booths in Singur and Nandigram, the Election Commission (EC) has decided to deploy special observers in these two seats. They would move around the polling stations within the jurisdiction of the two assembly segments.

CPM sitting MP Lakshman Seth is seeking re-election from Tamluk. Trinamool Congress has fielded its strongman Subhendu Adhikary against Seth. The Nandigram Assembly segment is likely to give Adhikary a comfortable winning margin.

The administration had deployed 220 companies of central forces and 38,000 armed guards to man polling booths, especially the “sensitive” ones in these 17 constituencies.

The Opposition is banking on the jot (alliance) chemistry to rework the poll arithmetic in areas where it was way behind in the last polls. The Left Front is eyeing the cracks within the Opposition to recover some of its lost ground.

The second phase of polls is likely to throw up surprises in at least five seats where Left Front had an easy going earlier. The CPM is confident about the three seats in Burdwan, while the Opposition is expecting major breakthroughs in East Midnapore, Nadia, Birbhum, Howrah and Hooghly.

Over 2.17 crore voters in the 17 Lok Sabha seats will vote on Thursday. The Lok Sabha seats, that go to polls on Thursday, are Jangipur, Berhampore, Murshidabad, Krishnanagar, Ranaghat, Howrah, Uluberia, Serampore, Hooghly, Arambagh, Tamluk, Kanthi, Burdwan East, Burdwan-Durgapur, Asansol, Bolpur and Birbhum.

West Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen said on Wednesday that 4195 of the total 20,975 polling stations where elections will be held on Thursday have been identified as sensitive booths. He also said that all booths would be manned by armed forces. Altogether, 38,000 state armed police personnel would be deployed along with central forces. (ANI)

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