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Violence mars by-polls in Bengal & Uttarakhand

Videos of clash from Uttarakhand circulated on social media. In West Bengal, BJP accused TMC activists of assaulting its booth agents.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: July 10, 2024, 05:19 AM - 4 mins read

By-polls marred by violence in Bengal & Uttarakhand

Violence mars by-polls in Bengal & Uttarakhand

A man assists an elderly woman as she arrives to cast her vote at a polling station during the ongoing Raiganj assembly bypoll, in North Dinajpur, West Bengal.


Moderate to brisk polling was recorded in 13 assembly constituencies across seven states where by-polls were underway on Wednesday amid sporadic incidents of violence in Uttarakhand and West Bengal.


Voting began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.


The electoral exercise, the first since the Lok Sabha polls, will decide the fate of many veterans and some debutantes, including Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu’s wife Kamlesh Thakur.


The by-polls are being held against vacancies created either due to deaths or resignation of incumbent members.


In Uttarakhand’s Manglaur constituency, four party supporters were injured in a clash between workers of different political parties at a polling booth.
Some reports claimed there was firing at the booth too. However, police denied the reports.


Purported videos of the clash on social media showed Congress candidate and former MLA Qazi Nizamuddin taking a man in bloodstained clothes to the hospital. He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of throttling democracy by sowing seeds of hatred. Another video showed him embracing an injured party worker at the hospital and crying aloud.


Violence erupted at the booth when some people with half their faces covered entered the booth and started stopping people from casting their votes, sources said.


Several Congress leaders, including former chief minister Harish Rawat, Leader of opposition in the state assembly Yashpal Arya and Congress MP from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh Imran Masood condemned the violence, saying it had never happened in Uttarakhand before.


The Manglaur by-poll was necessitated by the death of sitting Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Sarwat Karim Ansari in October last year while the Badrinath seat fell vacant after sitting Congress MLA Rajendra Bhandari resigned and switched to the BJP in March this year. 


In West Bengal, violence was reported in Bagdah and Ranaghat Dakshin as the BJP accused TMC activists of assaulting its booth agents and stopping its candidates from visiting some polling stations.


BJP candidates Manoj Kumar Biswas and Binay Kumar Biswas from Ranaghat Dakshin and Badgah respectively claimed they were not allowed to visit some booths.


The Trinamool Congress denied the allegations and dubbed them as “baseless”.


The BJP has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against these incidents.
In Himachal Pradesh, the seats fell vacant after the three independent legislators Hoshiyar Singh (Dehra), Ashish Sharma (Hamirpur) and K L Thakur (Nalagarh), who had voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls held on February 27, resigned from the House on March 22.


At many polling stations, plants were given to voters who exercised their franchise.


The ruling Aam Aadmi Party 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.


The Congress has placed its bet on Surinder Kaur, who is the former senior deputy mayor and five-time municipal councillor in Jalandhar. She is a prominent Dalit leader of the Ravidassia community.


The BJP has fielded Angural, who switched sides in March after quitting the AAP. He had won this seat in the 2022 Punjab assembly polls on an AAP ticket.


In Bihar, by-poll was necessitated following the resignation of sitting MLA Bima Bharti, who won the seat for Janata Dal(United) several times in the past, but quit the party to contest the Lok Sabha elections on a Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket. Following her loss in the parliamentary election, she contested in the by-poll as an RJD candidate.


Brisk polling was witnessed in the by-poll to Vikravandi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu with voters queuing up in large numbers at polling stations to exercise their franchise.


The by-poll was necessitated by the demise of DMK legislator N Pughazhendhi.


It is a triangular contest in Vikravandi with ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s candidate Anniyur Siva (alias Sivashanmugam A) pitted against Pattali Makkal Katchi’s (PMK) C Anbumani and Naam Tamilar Katchi’s K Abinaya.


Amarwara in Madhya Pradesh, too, went to the polls today.

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