Two killed, half of electorate vote in West Bengal (Second Lead)

May 7th, 2009 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, May 7 (IANS) Two people were killed and two others injured in violence in West Bengal, while trouble flared in Nandigram as nearly 50 percent of the electorate voted in the first six hours of polling across 17 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state Thursday.
“Till 1 p.m., nearly 50 percent of the people have voted,” state Chief Electoral Officer Debasish Sen told IANS.

In Domkol in Murshidabad Lok Sabha constituency, a man affiliated to a political party succumbed to injuries he sustained while making bombs Wednesday.

In Murshidabad district’s Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency, from where External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is seeking re-election, a voter was killed when miscreants hurled bombs at a queue before a polling booth, state Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told reporters.

Two people died in East Midnapore district - a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel died after a cerebral attack while on poll duty in Nandigram and a voter succumbed to sunstroke.

In trouble-torn Nandigram, two people were seriously injured after being hit on the head with rifle butts as activists of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the opposition Trinamool Congress clashed in at least two places.

“Two people have been injured in a political clash in Nandigram’s Adhikaripara area. They were taken to Khejuri block hospital with serious head injuries,” East Midnapore Superintendent of Police Pallab Kanti Ghosh told IANS.

“The situation has been brought under control now,” Ghosh added.

Clashes also took place in the Gokulnagar locality of the region.

“The political clashes mainly took place in the rural pockets in locations away from the booths. So it did not affect the polling process,” a police officer said.

Nandigram falls under Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency where sitting MP Laxman Seth of the CPI-M is engaged in a tough contest with the Trinamool Congress’ Subhendu Adhikari.

Nandigram CPI-M leader Ashok Guria alleged that Trinamool activists were terrorising their party supporters.

“Trinamool activists have terrorised our men asking them not to enter polling stations as CPI-M booth agent. They are also terorising our voters,” Guria said.

Elsewhere in the state, there were sporadic incidents, but overall the situation remained peaceful. Long queues were seen outside polling booths as voters, young and old, began trickling into polling stations long before they opened at 7 a.m. to beat the oppressive heat that is bound to make things difficult for the electors as the day progresses.

“There were some reports of technical snags in the EVMs, and they were replaced promptly,” Sen said.

In Jangipur, the Congress complained that the CPI-M had captured 12-14 booths.

“Our polling agents have been driven out by the CPI-M goons who have completely captured these booths. We have lodged a complaint with the Election Commission,” Mukherjee’s aide Prodyut Guha told IANS over phone from Jangipur.

Voting was peaceful in the Hooghly district pocket of Singur, where sustained protests by Trinamool Congress had led to Tata Motors shifting its prestigious Nano car plant to Gujarat’s Sanand. Singur is part of the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat.

Besides, Trinamool Congress’ celebrity candidate, actor Tapas Pal, was warned by the authorities not to influence the electorate in his constituency Krishnanagar in Nadia district.

Pal has been fielded against CPI-M MP Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, a double gold medal winning athlete in the 1998 Busan Asian Games, and BJP nominee and former union minister Satya Brata Mukherjee.

In the 2004 election, the CPI-M had won 14 of the 17 seats in the state that went to polls Thursday.

Of West Bengal’s 42 seats, 14 went to the polls April 30, while 11 will vote in the last round May 13. The votes will be counted May 16.

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